Indian Wells Final: Nadal def Murray 6-1, 6-2

The Indian Wells final of 2009 was a windy one, if anything. And contrary to my expectations it was Rafa who flourished in the conditions. I just thought Murray would handle the conditions slightly better since he has shorter strokes then Rafa and he is a thinking player. I definitely didn’t expect him to lose 6-1, 6-2. But it turned out that the conditions really played into Rafa’s hands. We know by now that Rafa is a great defensive player, probably the greatest in history. When it comes to drawn out base line rallies no one can come even close. In windy conditions patience is a virtue, and so is not getting frustrated. Rafa is a master at both of these. When was the last time you saw Rafa lose his cool?

The answer is he never does. This is what makes him such a tough opponent. He has a great mental attitude and gives 100% no matter what the conditions. It’s also the reason Roger has so much trouble with him. Rafa believes immensely in his own abilities and his opponents fear him because they know he will give nothing out there on the court, every point you win is a point you deserved to win. He commands great respect in the locker room and when he steps on court he already holds an advantage over his opponent. So it’s hardly a surprise that he fared so well in the wind, it’s a question of hanging in there and not getting impatient or frustrated when you miss a few shots.

In stark contrast you could see Murray was trying to end the points and he kept missing, and the more he missed the more frustrated he got. So all credit to Rafa for winning this one, he totally deserved it. The one other match that I saw between Murray and Rafa was the final in Rotterdam. There Rafa got injured in the third set but I had the feeling Murray had the better of him. It was of course played indoors so no wind factor. In the Rotterdam match Murray was good at hanging in the rallies and changing up the play with some slices and cranking up the pace at other times. He could use his serve to get free points as well as approach the net effectively.

In the wind that is just not possible. The pace of the rallies stay pretty much the same and serving and volleying is very tough. Having said all this I don’t think Murray played a very good match, he should have done better then the scoreline suggests. I mean 6-1, 6-2 is a large winning margin under any conditions. The other two matches that Murray beat Rafa in it has to be said was faster conditions then Indian Wells, so maybe that had an affect on the match as well. The faster the conditions the better for Murray obviously and the worse for Rafa. The courts at Indian Wells are slow hard court, once again favoring Rafa’s style of play like most courts these days.

I’m not taking anything away from Rafa though, as always he thoroughly deserves his win and is now well and truly on top of the tennis world. He will take some stopping that’s for sure. Next week in Miami will be very interesting now, knowing that it will be fast hard courts that is similar to the US Open. This is where we will find out just how well Rafa can cope with faster surfaces. There is very few fast courts left these days. So it will be interesting to see how things pan out for Rafa. It will also suit Roger’s game better then Indian Wells. So I’m really hoping he can win Miami, that would would be great for his morale. But with Rafa and Murray around it will be difficult again.

Of the two back-to-back Masters Series events in Indian Wells and Miami this will be the one where Roger has his best chance, and having some matches under his belt after the break will also help. He will still need to change some things when he plays Rafa and Murray though, the fact that it’s a faster surface doesn’t guarantee him a victory. It should be clear to Roger by now that these players are a big threat no matter what the surface. Therefor I wouldn’t recommend going into the match with the same mindset as he did in his latest loss against Murray. He must use the favorable conditions to play to his strength which is attacking tennis and go to the net when the opportunity presents itself. That’s my advice anyway.


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3 Comments

  1. I watch Nadal´s match against Murray and really i think Murray was another guy, I can´t believe…..this guy said that he likes to defeat Roger so much as win the trophy, thhis happened at the Master Cup, when he d/Roger and then had a loss, he said he was really happy.I think that this guy plays his best tennis against Roger, but Roger needs a coach to help him to defeat this and other guys that did exactly the same.Roger the best tennis player can win Miami,I hope.

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    ruanz3 Reply:

    :-) Yes this is the second time i know of that he loses easily after playing against Roger. Good point. It just shows you how important beating Roger is to him. Its the same as winning the tournament for him!

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  2. As always Ruan, good post! :-) I cannot tell a lie, this final shocked me. Though Murray did not play at his best against Federer, I thought that the final would be competitive, a three set win for the champion. Well, I was definitely wrong. I didn’t know who to pick coming into this match, but I had to give the advantage to Murray. After all he had won Rotterdam, defeating Nadal (who, yes, was injuried) in the final. To be perfectly honest, Nadal wasn’t playing all that impressive up to the final anyway. But once play had started, it became fairly obvious who was going to win.

    The conditions just suited Nadal’s game, without a doubt. What I thought was key here was that Nadal refound his form in this final. All week he had played inconsistently, most evident in his match against Nalbandian. When he refound his form, he was able to play agressively, despite the conditions, just because Nadal has so much control with his racquet. As a result, Murray was really forced to play defensively, and he was always on his back foot, never really able to assert himself in this match.

    Murray realizes that he has to play aggressively against someone like Nadal, which is what he did in Rotterdam. In an indoor court like that however, conditions do not play a factor in the match. Murray was able to control the points more from the baseline in that match. Here however, Murray was forced to play defensively, in order to keep his unforced error count down. As a result, it cost him the match.

    One thing I felt Nadal did phenomenally today, was his serve. Murray didn’t even get a break point. This is rather shocking as Murray is one of the best returners in the game. But Nadal has improved both his first and second serve tremendously this past two years or so, adding a lot of pace to it, and increasing its accuracy and precision. Though Nadal’s unforced error count was higher than normal (17), he still had so many free points off his serve that it more than made up for it.

    Anyway, good match for Nadal, who has firmly cemented himself as the man to beat this year.

    Back to Federer matters now, I cannot wait for Miami :D . I think he has a real chance here. Like you said, the conditions there are much quicker than Indian Wells (which are ridiculously slow), which suits his game. The draw came out today too, and Federer has quite the favourable draw. FINALLY. :D

    Here’s the breakdown:

    2nd round: Llodra
    3rd round: Kiefer
    4th round: Robredo (most likely)
    Quarters: Roddick
    Semis: Djokovic
    Final: Murray/Nadal

    Really, Federer could not get a better draw than this. Not too challenging, and he really cannot lose until the final. I doubt Roddick will cause him any worries in the quarters, nor can I see Djokovic upsetting him in the semis, based on his results this year. Honestly, if Federer can get his act together in Miami, it’s his title to lose!

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