Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Deuce Court: Rafa's Rambling Presser

The Deuce Court tries to decipher the meaning of Rafa's post-match presser. Nadal only managed three games against his long-time rival Roger Federer in London today.

Deuce #1: Rafa's shoulder: Not Great

For those who were caught off guard by this talk of Rafa's shoulder bothering him, there were reports surfacing that Rafa was having difficulties with the shoulder as of ten days ago. To his credit, he said very little about the shoulder until he was pressed for the reason that he did not practice yesterday, at the end of the interview.

So what does it mean going forward? Hard to say. It seems like planet Rafa is destined to always have a wide range of nagging injuries orbiting around him. Right now it's the shoulder. With more matches to play in London, a huge Davis Cup final the following week, the primary concern has to be what kind of recovery work can he get done after Davis Cup and before Australia.

Deuce #2: Read between Rafa's lines

Throughout this presser Rafa paints a very bleak picture about his next few months. Not only is he hurting in London, he's also under immense pressure to perform in the Davis Cup final. So he might be hurting even more when it's over. As soon as Davis Cup ends the clock will start ticking to Australia. Talk about no rest for the weary.

Rafa isn't fuming mad, but I think it's clear to anybody watching this presser that he's fed up. There's so little time to rest and recover, and he seems desperate right now. For a player who relies heavily on being in almost freakish physical condition, this is a very big deal. Just like Federer has done over the last few years, Rafa will have to make very wise decisions regarding scheduling, maintaining fitness, etc...

Ad In: The problem with Rafa managing his schedule is that he likes to play himself into form. If he needs to skip events to stay healthy, how will he stay match tough?

Deuce #3: All this said, if Rafa can manage a win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday he'll be in the semis. He could still win this thing.

Ad Out: The consolation? Next year will be slightly better.

Next year should be a little better, with the ATP lopping two weeks off the schedule, but what are they going to do about that Davis Cup Final date? Someday, as much as I'm loving late-November tennis, I hope the ATP can find a way to put their season to bed before November begins. It's just too taxing for the top guys right now, and it's becoming painfully obvious with the growing number of walking wounded (Fish, Murray, Nadal, Djokovic) in London.


  1. I think Rafa may have been feeling some lingering effects from eating the bad fish. Food poisoning can drain anyone for days. But, he's too nice of a guy to give excuses for losing. The Davis Cup final has to be weighing heavily on him now, so I won't be surprised if he doesn't win the title in London.

  2. All things considered, he sounds pretty positive. He's gonna do what he always does: try his best and "we'll see"...so, we'll see.

  3. There's always an excuse when Rafa loses badly. What was Roger's excuse for the blitz in 2008 RG? Fed's win yesterday had nothing to do w Rafa's problems-there were just too many balls a well Rafa could not have gotten to. Why is it so difficult to believe that Fed can blitz Rafa, especially on a fast court? Rafa has to take a good look at himself. The practice regimen that he has set up for himself is crazy. As he says in his book, he is a tennis machine, an automoton. This may not work for his body. He does not need to play Monte Carlo(not required), does not need to play Barcelona. The whole season can't be tailored to him nor the rankings which is the new thing he has come out with to help the TOP players not have to work so hard to keep their points. How about all the under 10 players trying to make it up? Murray pushed himself this fall. For a person who complained about the length of the season he sure got a lot out of it. Novak's problems has to do with his year-some people can't have that kind of year without problems. Remember he had shoulder problems in the summer. So when you look at the top players-Murray pushed himself in the fall, Novak's been injured since the summer and Rafa is always injured or sick. No one takes note of the fact that Federer has always stayed with his own schedule to keep up his body. And whether he wins or loses, no one recognizes Federer's illnesses or injuries-he has had a back problem for some time now and his mono was practically laughed at by the media. I like all the top guys and the season could be shortened a couple of weeks-but they all didn't break down in the fall and they need to manage their schedules AND practices better.


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