Howdy folks. I was pleasantly surprised last night when Nadal suffered a sixth consecutive loss in the quarter finals or earlier. His last six losses came to Brown(85), Kyrgios(144), Klizan(56), Lopez(21), Coric(124), and Berrer(127). I was glad to catch this one but at first it looked like Nadal was right back to his best which of course would not have been surprising given his strange history, bread sticking Berrer in the opening set. As you can imagine I was not exactly thrilled with what was going on, remembering how Nadal came back in 2013 after a seven month lay off and hardly losing a match from the beginning to dominate the tour until after the US Open. He was also playing as well as I’ve ever seen him play, hitting one ridiculous banana shot in the process. But Berrer got the break early in the second set and held on to take the second set 6-3. To my surprise he also got the early break in the third set, because I was expecting Nadal to establish dominance again.
At 5-4 it was the moment of truth with Berrer serving for the match. He appeared shaky because he began with a double fault and went 0-30 down. He also served another double fault in the same game but somehow managed to hang on and get the upset victory, and that at age 34 which is also his last year on tour. After I saw the first set I thought Nadal was already back and that he could go all the way to the Doha final, but this loss seems like a new low now. It was the second lowest ranked player he lost to in his last six matches but Kyrgios probably played like a top five opponent at Wimbledon. Now before I make too big a deal of this let me just remind you that Nadal has lost early in smaller tournaments before, and then contended for slams again. I don’t want to draw any conclusions from this loss with the Australian Open coming up but it does make you wonder where he is going.
Last year’s champ Hewitt was a first round casualty
I just find it hard to believe that after six straight upsets he is just gonna show up in Melbourne and play the world on fire. Even Nadal needs confidence. Yes he can gain confidence by grinding out some wins over five sets, which is why I would never write him off. If he grinds out some wins in the first week with his superior fitness and experience he can certainly be a factor in the second week. But he could also run into a hot player and lose in the first week. And even if he makes the second week he can still lose to a good player due to lack of match play. But even if he doesn’t feature at the Australian Open it doesn’t mean he is over the hill. You’d expect him to come back strong in the clay court season and probably be the favorite for the French Open again. I said earlier that I expect him to win two slams this year. But that is more out of respect for his ability to prove me wrong.
He may also win no slams for the first time in(10 years?). I always thought Nadal was about on par with Sampras as far as greatness goes and that 14 is about the right number for him as far as slam titles go. But then he kept surprising me to the point that I was sure he would surpass Roger. And then of course Roger raised his own game and it now seems likely that he will win another slam himself. So now I am not so sure Nadal will surpass Roger anymore, but I still think he can catch him. Or not. It is just very difficult to tell in tennis and we may even see Nadal decline rapidly this year. Given his taxing game style I would have thought he would have declined a lot more already so it is not impossible. I mean he is getting injured more and more like his body is beginning to fall apart. How long can you keep playing like that for anyway? Surely there comes a point when even Nadal declines.
Hitting with his new shoes(Destroy fear)
Could this finally be Djokovic’s year to win the French? If that happens then you would think Nadal won’t win any slams this year. But if he does win the French then he could easily win the US Open as well. It is really hard to know what will happen given the unpredictable nature of tennis but I thought I’d put some food for thought out there and get some comments from you guys. As far as Roger goes he finally plays tomorrow against Millman who beat the qualifier easily. I’m sure you have all been looking forward to seeing him back in action just like myself. Simon has already lost too which means Roger will face Nieminen or Duckworth if he wins. So his draw has already opened up some. Dimitrov already played today and scraped by Chardy 10-8 in the final set tie break. The other seed in Roger’s half Dolgopolov was eliminated by Klizan who keeps impressing.