12 Responses

  1. Mithi
    Mithi February 6, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

    I know I usually ramble on and on in the comments section but you guys broke me today (in a good way). Sometimes (definitely helped by a decent dose of paranoia) it feels as though only the Rafans miss him and the rest of the tennis world just moves on. So just to hear the generic tennis population say they missed him does feel a little good. Also I have to say this. I know the Rafa-Nole Beijing match was brilliant. But you know which other match had me really interested? R1 of the Olympics. Starace. I thought he played amazing, given that Rafa was #1. Just another match to remember.

  2. Jewell
    Jewell February 6, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

    Linz – do you think Rafa fans are any more rabid than fans of the other really big stars & greats – Federer, Serena, Djokovic? Not being snarky, genuine question.

    Also Queens final in 2008, for Nadal-Djokovic. Terrific match, straight sets or not.

    I miss Fedal – not just the tennis, but the starkness of the rivalry. Huge contrast in style, but not only that – each was preventing the other from getting what they most wanted, and there was the whole hunt aspect, of Rafa slowly chasing down Fed’s position at the top of the game and taking it. That was fun. Tennis is about story as well as tennis to me – I know JJ will disagree, but it is, and it’s part of what pulls fans in. Not that I always like the stories that get told…Anyway, that particular rivalry, for me, ended in 2008 and at the AO in 2009. I think their matches since have missed that more dramatic context.

    Enjoying the “Rafapalooza”. 🙂

    1. Aysha
      Aysha February 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

      Totally agree Jewell. I often think what gets missed when people dismiss the Fedal rivalry as “boring” is that the context is what adds to the drama. Without Fedal, we’d have had Federer domination between 2003-2010 pretty much. Nadal added much needed drama and intrigue to an era that could actually have become very dull and a bit like golf when Woods was dominated – except unlike golf, in tennis you need two great players usually for it to be interesting.

      It was lefty vs righty; “cool” Swiss vs “fiery” Spaniard – cliches but rooted in some truth; single hander vs double hander; collars and smartness vs piratas and long hair. People who didn’t care about tennis became interested in their matches – that’s a pretty big deal IMO. The reason rivalries like Djokovic/Murray etc. will never reach that height IMO, even if their H2H is much more even, is because they don’t have those intangibles. Also, when at their peak Nadal and Federer matches did produce some stunning tennis – it wasn’t always the foregone conclusion people suggest – Rome 06; Dubai 06; Miami 05; Wimbledon 07; Wimbledon 08; AO 09 – these were all great matches and in none of them was the outcome that clear.

      Finally what really astounds me about Fedal is that rarely, if ever, do big matches live up to their hype – the Wimbledon 08 final did. Sure, the tennis at AO 09 may have been of higher quality – but just watch this BBC preview before that final which had Borg and MacEnroe discussing the rivalry – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woUp5TTHybQ

      Who would have known we’d get the kind of classic they predicted? Fed going for 6 in a row to break Borg’s record; Nadal for the channel slam – Borg watching from the Royal Box. It had everything. Sorry for the Fedal tangent but I feel like in this era of the Big 4 people have forgotten 2005-2008, where for the most part it was just the Big 2!

      1. Aysha
        Aysha February 6, 2013 at 2:38 pm |

        Specific discussion between 18 min – 23 min mark (though the rest of the interview is very interesting too!). 🙂

        1. Aysha
          Aysha February 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

          The 48-50 min mark with Henman and Becker and the statistics involved is pretty good too. Will stop spamming now!

      2. Jewell
        Jewell February 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm |

        What you said…although, must admit, it is probably easier to love Fedal if you’re a Rafa fan than it is if you favour Fed. 🙂

  3. Nicole
    Nicole February 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm |

    As a non-Nadal fan (but a massive Nadal-respecter), I did not realize I would miss him as much as I have. Someone (I suspect I know who, but I’m just going to shut that out, lol) recently wrote that tennis has not really been diminished that much by Nadal’s absence. I beg to differ, whole-heartedly. No one can match Nadal’s intensity and brutality on the court, and Nadal’s presence in any draw adds a spark that can’t be replicated by any other player — and I say this as an intense Novak fan. I’m so happy Nadal is back, and I hope he *stays* back for a good, long time.

    Thank you for posting this chat. Lots of great Nadal memories that I had forgotten!

  4. carmiecell
    carmiecell February 6, 2013 at 2:55 pm |

    “I really missed the Nadal-Djokovic rivalry. It’s probably my favorite match-up among all of the members of the Big Four.”

    Really Amy? As a self proclaimed fan of aggressive tennis, its odd that you picked a rivalry that produces such defensive tennis with incredibly long rallies.

    1. Amy
      Amy February 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm |

      I love aggressive tennis, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate other kinds. To me, Nadal-Djokovic is the best rivalry, tennis-wise.

  5. Ophelia
    Ophelia February 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm |

    Djokovic might be my favorite player, but like the rest of the tennis community, I’ve missed Nadal greatly. He really seemed to be the player that brought out the competitive side of Djokovic the most often; I’ll always remember watching the 2010 US Open final live and being surprised at how fiercely and courageously Djokovic fought against Nadal even in a year when Nadal was at his peak and Djokovic hadn’t scaled his yet.

    Plus, the great thing about Nadal’s return is that even if he goes on to dominate the clay season like he’s done so many times before, it’ll make for a comeback storyline that’s just as compelling as the alternative storyline of someone breaking his dominance. I really do hope that he at least makes the French Open final, as the tournament’s going to feel a bit flat otherwise.

  6. Aube
    Aube February 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    oh also “the amazing disaster comment” yeah that too:)

  7. Nadal News » Blog Archive » RafaLint: February 6th

    […] Changeover Chat: Rafael Nadal Memories – via changeovertennis.com […]

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