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I swallowed Wimby loss hoping that Rafa would be back for Olympics and winning. Now he's out for pretty much for the rest of the season.......what a cruel thing. Tennis has become irrelevant for me and legions of his fans.....any truly passionate fan can relate to this feeling as sports without heroes loses meaning. I know many who stopped following their fav sport when their hero retired........that said we don't have to fear such consequences with Rafa.....if anything he'll comeback stronger that much is assured. Ferocious competitor, iron-willed fighter and a true Champion! Take care of your health my friend and rest shall be repeat of history! Abraxas-really bummed but what do you think of AO11?
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Delpo my friend....what a deeply emotional victory.......it's hard not be swept away by emotion watching you play with such heart, passion and some pain. Crack those forehands and you shall crack the top 4 soon....Muzza hit pay dirt at this olympics but methinks you are gonna crash everybody's party at USO.....Delpo the detonator!
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Fantastic performance by Roger! This should not be spun as somehow Novak was below par and lost. Nope....Novak was absolutely superb in the 2nd set and I feared for a steamrollering.........but then the true champion's belief and courage came into play....Roger simply raised his game by several notches....hitting harder, going for lines and acute angles and generally serving flawlessly. I was very surprised that Novak couldn't fight tooth and nail like in AO final.......the incredible consistency he's shown for past 18 months seems to be slowly cracking....we'll have to see whether he can still win 2 majors every year for the next 2-3 yrs....... Let's doff our collective hat to Roger who believed in himself when everyone else who thought he's past it as to beating the top 2....in faster conditions he's still a genuine threat to anyone and an absolute real deal! Commies to Novak's fans....but there's nothing to complain right...just outclassed when seemingly unbeatable in earlier rounds. Novak could still plaster Roger in many more matches but Roger's threat cannot be discounted at Wimby or USO. Also, Roger seems to be extra motivated when playing Novak;-)
Toggle Commented Jul 7, 2012 on Wimbledon: Federer d. Djokovic at Racquet Reaction
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Northernboy-You mention that Rafa was utterly dominated in sets 2-4 in AO final.....vague memory suggests that Rafa actually won the 4th set. As you say Novak utterly dominated that 4th set and lost yet.....so Rafa/fans shouldn't worry about Novak's bestest since the outcome not going to change;-)
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Geellis-Perfect answer my friend. I was also irritated by the reference to the 8 game streak, mostly by fans and some experts too,insinuating that Novak almost had the match won. What beffuddles me is if someone is much better playing at supposedly 'best' levels than another opponent, quite simply why can't they play their best....surely something had to do with how the other guy/girl playing rt? I would rather interpret that Novak has to be his absolute best to beat a 90% Rafa....while 90% Rafa can handle 90% Novak easily and a sub-par Novak shall be...see Monte Carlo final! With confidence restored, Rafa can start stepping inside the baseline more often and the result shall be....watch the shot where he reached matchpoint.....inside out/lusty/crushing fh winner. A true champion mettle on how he/she responds to extreme adversity/challenge....Rafa has passed the test. I also believe Novak to be a true champion but his test is next set of GSs. Tennis fans never had it so good!
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Commies to Yolita. Colts-insights better than pundits! Some poster just said that moonballing/fh spin doesn't make best player in the world reg Rafa. Forget tennis, have you ever picked up even ping pong paddle and actually played something? Heights of ridiculousness!!!! Jai-I've also read some plainly obnoxious comments and thought 'oh vanity before failure'. Ironic and funny thing is the players themselves are conducting themselves in an admirable fashion while the virtual fans are plumbing depths. Let the force be with Yolitas, Abraxas',Geellis', Fernandos of the world!
Toggle Commented Jun 12, 2012 on The Hard Way at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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Steve-Must say a heartfelt recapturing of the final and the final moments. Rafa makes all the fans suffer but the ultimate reward is immensely gratifying. I will say one word on behalf of all of them(myself).....It's a massive relief to truly reset the rivarly. I was plenty scared in 3rd set when Novak was redlining and Rafa retreating/forced into backhand corner. Despite having a realistic chance for a straight set rout Rafa's nerves were jangling the moment few of Nole's shots catching line and returns dipping at feet. So to comeback and win convincingly in the 4th set is enormous, irrespective of Nole is playing, from a psychological perspective for at least 6-8 GSs to come. I read another poster here commenting that irrespective of Rafa playing until final, still Novak was a heavy favorite given the matchup and the recent history drawing parallels from Rafa/Fed contests over the years as in Rafa winning despite struggling in earlier rounds. Sound logic must say.....but it did not contend with one simple fact.....we are talking about Rafa-a true champion, who embraces every adversity with 'Colm', courage and belief and ultimately prevails. Even the mightiest peaks have to yield confronted with such purity of will,perseverance and focus. Another fatuous logic was....if Novak plays his best then Rafa has no chance....who exactly is preventing Nole from playing his best??? I reiterate one point.....even when Nole was playing was playing at utterly superhuman level in 2011, Rafa was getting beaten and bruised but keeping it incredibly close. Anyone who cannot redline for the entire match is toast against Rafa. Novak cannot win with his avg/mean game against Rafa.....now with confidence restored Rafa can start nicking close matches against Nole while pretty much pounding the rest. Abraxas-I take issue with your take on Rafole rivarly being not 'great'....sure everything happened a little too quickly and until 2011 it was not really a rivalry though Novak managed few good wins against Rafa. But the quality of their matches last yr and AO belong to top drawer....majority of their extended rallies are simply superhuman. Amazing how many sure winners they have to hit only to lose the point to a piece of brilliance again. Since both are relatively young this could be the rivarly for ages and beyond! Commiserations to Nole's genuine fans(especially Yolita)and for the nastiest of posters---just look at yourselves in the mirror. Rafa-We are proud to be your fans, unstinting in the belief that you are not only a great champion but a great human being too! Wimby, Olympics, USO....here we come!
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2012 on The Hard Way at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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Mister L-Classy response! Let's enjoy matches rather than get into Ph.D dissertation mode where one defends with tome in one hand and some more in another;-) Sucks out the interest, excitement........let's be fans first then logicians/rationalists later!
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2012 on French Open: Nadal d. Almagro at Racquet Reaction
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Yolita-Have read some of your posts(especially why we love Novak piece)and must say I am very pleased that Novak boasts such wonderful, graceful and passionate fans. Some of other posters ruined it when Novak went ballistic in 2011...you know who;-) Despite a Rafalite I will say this.....what Novak has done in 2011 is simply incredible and if he repeats it for next 3 yrs then he's simply not better but best in history. Are we not privileged that we are able to watch 3 all time greats sparing relentlessly. And for Godsakkkkes don't so easily admit Novak defeat and jinx Rafa;-)
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Abraxas - It's heartwarming to be in the company of such passionate/committed fans. No wonder Rafa draws strength from his legions of fans....when I remember his bad knees and 2009 and everyone speaking in past tense I was so despondent. But Rafa made me smile again 3 GSs, no less, in 2010 only to be surprised by Novak in 2011. No one saw it coming really(I bet even Novak ever thought he would win 4 GS out of next 5). I watched AUS open in EST hrs without checking out of the hotel for six long hrs willing Rafa to edge it....reason I got all sentimental and ritualistic now in terms speculating on his victories. I will celebrate when Rafa repeats the dose, twice over, to Novak in next set of majors.
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2012 on French Open: Nadal d. Monaco at Racquet Reaction
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Abraxas-spoken too soon may be? As a Rafalite I am delighted but not sure about beating Novak easily....for that matter Novak stands a fair chance of beating Rafa if Rafa is cooped up in BH corner. The pattern that scares me most is Novak playing from inside the baseline and landing sucker-punches with his BH down the line then cross-court then winner. Rafa seems to have figured out somewhat on playing something from a neutral position(instead beginning from a retrieving position)given his MC and Rome wins....if he plays to best of his abilities the answer is bleeding obvious. But I would be very cautious in discounting Novak's threat. That said I don't want anyone to jinx Rafa by talking about Wimbledon.
Toggle Commented Jun 4, 2012 on French Open: Nadal d. Monaco at Racquet Reaction
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Steve & Fernando taking digs at each other....can't get funnier;-)Harvey's analysis is accurate and brilliant. Sad he can't be paid for his troubles. In fact, to steal Harvey's thunder a lil, all fans were willing Rafa to do it. With a lil bit of hindsight we can now see that Rafa lost his general confidence, and crucially confidence in his bread n butter shots when he realised that he cannot outlast Novak....that must have been truly disorieting. I just watched 2010 USO highlights and If Rafa can play like that then even Novak 2.0 or 10.0 cannot do much.... As my fellow fan Geellis pointed out sometime ago.....Rafa amongst many things is a problem solver and his career so far is an illuminating example of that trait in all its glory. He will solve Novak,despite Nole playing staggering tennis, to keep the rivalry hot n fuming and slightly in his favor for a few more yrs. BTW....good to see you Geellis!
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Deep compunction...is it Pete? After writing such disparaging things on Rafa this past week what a change of heart......winning is such an intoxicating potion that not only players themselves but journalists cut from your cloth seem to be deeply affected/influenced by it. You even mentioned Rafa losing hair and in one broadstroke dismissed his unsurpassed greatness on Clay. Though the most natural reaction of Rafa fans would have been anger i could only pity your desperation.....who made you write those @#$%?? Now this Borgian elevation.....bizarre to say the least. I would rather like you to continue your dissing just so Rafa may shove it back each time. Pls. for chrissakes don't jinx him. Amen!
Toggle Commented May 23, 2012 on Seven Doomed Men at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Wow...this back and forth dialogue (diatribe) amongst the passionate fans/posters here is quite entertaining. Where are Geellis and Ethan when we need them. BTW the thing Nole fans seem to conveniently ignore is all the matches that Rafa lost in '11 were incredibly close despite Nole playing at the new stratospheric level. And conversely Rafa wasn't playing his best.....his serving was awful, missing forehands, lollipop bh....we all know he could play far better. Now Nole cannot improve anymore and Rafa can improve his play from '11 level quite significantly such that RG can be played at a level playing field so to speak.....Rafa should prevail on clay and grass and Nole will do likewise on Hardcourts. Without taking names I will respond to one another assertion.....that Nole could have beaten Rafa more in 2010 given that he was beating him since Cincy 2009. Well we know every Tom, Dick and Harry beat a hobbled Rafa after June 2009 with Delpo handing an epic beatdown. Murray fairly outplayed Rafa in Aus 2010....we know what happened to all these when Rafa was fully healthy and back! To talk that Novak was a worldbeater before '11 was plain fatuous....despite # 3 he was not a contender at any slam and we could easily perceive a tone of derision among the commentators other players not withstanding. Kudos to him for what he has done in '11 but let's not spin past with recent vintage. It will be fascinating to watch the next 3 majors with such a Hollywood-esque narrative....
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Steve-You really get Rafa and for fans like us it's great to see our own hopes, fears then expectations then incredible pride(repeat that)expressed with a lot of feeling, understated passion and beauty. Well that said you still seem to holding out on writing a more voluble piece until later....for much grander occasion! As a fan I am simply happy that Rafa has started winning again the manner of which is not very relevant now. There's this thing called confidence that can come only with that Winning feeling.....I always that Djoker gained confidence by his unexpected/close wins in IW/Miami last yr where Rafa initially seemed a lil confused and saw it as an aberration. But Novak used that confidence to literally move into stratosphoric zone by playing go-for-broke tennis without errors not just for a set but for almost an entire year....we all saw the stupendous results. Now Rafa, having slightly recalibrated his game, can really believe that he can beat Novak again instead of just hoping. If Rafa can eliminate the nervous routine errors, dfs and uses his FH like he uses it against Berdych.....he will still edge Novak overall.......and the rivalry be really rivalry again....enthralling, enticing and deeply exhausting! It takes immense courage(big balls essentially)to take many painful beatings and come back and WIN again....what do you call it 'Champion'. Rafa-you may be the one Rudyard Kipling must have imagined when he wrote those immortal lines 'If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
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Wow....online media is really cashing on this result....4 articles on this site alone! But much, much needed relief for long suffering Rafa fans.....anyone who plays sport even at a recreational level knows what a WIN does! Instead of focusing on Novak's extenuating circumstances let's guesstimate media/fans' reaction if Novak pulled through! Everyone would be extolling virtues of a champion of a special kind-overcomes all obstacles, maintains focus, produces best even when not at his best and the blather.....and Rafa would have been pilloried for not eking out a win. Get it....this was an authentic victory where Rafa did a few things all his fans are willing him on for the past 1.5 yrs....maintain decent depth of the shots, serve well and use the forehand well....we saw what happens when Rafa begins hitting his fh lustily....even Novak cannot cope. But not counting the chickens too soon....Novak is too good a player and too dangerous for Rafa especially, to say this resets the rivalry. What it does definitely is bring some much needed belief to Rafa that he can actually beat Novak again....if Rafa stays a lil relaxed and play to his strengths the oncoming matches would be evenly split not really lopsided in anyone's favor. I will be more confident when Rafa can counter or prevent Novak beast of a bh that inflicts maximum damage on both flanks. Rafa shall be still underdog until he resets the rivalry to 24-14. Thrilling times ahead.......commiserations to Novak for bereavement!
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2012 on Cashing Our Chips at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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It's been a while since I posted here. Firstly, many congratulations to Novak! He seems to be poised to repeat his incredible 2011 season!!! Having watched him for the past few yrs, the curret level of play(past 15 months) is just unbelievable. To say he has improved is vast understatement....he's become twice/thrice the player that he was.....he has this remarkable groundstroke rhythm that he can never seem to be in any danger of losing any rally!Novak has an extra split second for his setup/swing even while moving side to side....his stance on FH used to be wider meaning less power on that wing.....now he's just crisp and hitting clean every ball. His incredible improvement in fitness levels means he added more weight to his shots, make all shots, virtually making him unbeatable! Then how could anyone beat this guy.....there are some chinks to take heart.....Novak current level is predicated on him being supremely fit and any dip thereof will have more overall effect on his game. Fitness apart there's Fed way and I might add Delpo way! Fed can beat Novak with variety, great serving while giving no rhythm. Delpo can hit through without engaged in 30 shot rally all the time....the operative word being both ways have to be sustained for the entire match! And then there's Isner way....needn't explain! As Rafa fan it hurts to say that Novak game is such a terrible matchup(now), Novak will have less difficulty beating Rafa than let's say a Ferrer......simply because he can outlast any rally and relentlessly pound Rafa's BH with BH and FH. He steps into the court with ridiculous frequency when playing Rafa........so is there no hope for Rafa/fans.....there is......he should play his FH crosscourt at an acute angle(hitting service box sideline)to somewhat neutralize Novak's BH and use DTL FH everytime he gets the ball on that wing...more s/v since he's much better volleyer.......do this entire match and the tide shall eventually turn!
Toggle Commented Apr 2, 2012 on Miami: Djokovic d. Murray at Racquet Reaction
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Oh....finally Rafa who swings fearlessly....circa 2008?! I was waiting for a longtime for Rafa to start hitting his groundies like he did in 08....with abandon and control. Berdych very nearly beat him.....his huge, crunching serve, flat n powerful FH, deep BH cross court were clearly having the measure of Nadal for sets 1 & 2. Worryingly Rafa's 2nd serve was powder puff and Birdman gleefully thumped many.....despite winning 2nd set in breaker Rafa was uncertain and 100 ft behind baseline. And after the first 3 close games in 3rd set, something clicked and Rafa started 'Really' hitting.....crashing FH winners at will, moving with intensity, serving well so much so that even BH gotten better. 4th set was an exhibition of what Rafa could do without inhibitions and self doubts of the last year. Some of his outright return winners off very good serves were scary good punctuated with deep gets, slapping FH's winners when reaching the ball itself seemed impossible, volleys sublimely timed....lotta like for Rafa fans. Now fix that Hingis 2nd serve and get ready to launch a furious assault on allcomers!
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Rivalry to trivarly then back to Rivalry! Despite the repeated painful losses this year.....I am absolutely certain that Rafa shall be back exactly like Gauloises described pretty early in the thread. I've been reading 'noleisthbest' for some time now and can understand her cloud 9/10/11/12/N feeling.....it's plain n simple even Djoker didn't expect to scale such heights himself and it's a small wonder if his fans are in ferment! What I don't understand is calling Djoker way better than Rafa......this is not even hubris it's plain stupid! I would gladly eat humple pie of various flavors if Djoker can repeat this season just 2 more times.....until then let's be a lil more patient! I would just blame Rafa for giving him confidence in the very 1st final(IW)by losing what was an easily winnable match....remember clearly how Rafa was outplaying in the 1st set. For some crazy reason he can't find court with his 1st serve in sets 2/3 to lose then lose Miami by wafer thin margin but huge psychological boost to Djoker. It's a plain confidence thing.....the way better Djoker shall know better in 2012 than his most rabid fans that one swallow doesn't make a summer! BP-whatever handle you currently use-keep it comin....you manage to crack me up even on a morose day! Where's Ethan and Geellis?
Toggle Commented Sep 21, 2011 on The Implacable at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Wow wow Peter....that was truly prophetic coming as it was 4+ yrs ago. I vaguely remember Steve referring to this piece more than once but I paid no attention since I didn't follow Nole at all until he started beating my dear Rafa. You stunningly talk about trunk rotation then when the commentators suddenly talk that they discovered it(in Nole's game) just a few months ago. Bravo, bravo! Despite writing this did you honestly believe that he's going to get this 2011 level.....honestly even Novak is in disbelief! OK OK no more sour grapes.....I guess we have to now agree with you assessment with couple riders....Novak's forehand is still in 'Solid category only' and I can't believe that you compared his serve to the inimitable Sampras.....definitely a long way to go! Pistol pete just routinely thumped in late 130's mph and his avg speed in bad matches was late 120's and not only the speed but his raining down aces down the T on order is almost legendary! If Novak can repeat this season for at least 3 more times....then the perfect player can be the most successful player! Hope Rafa will have something say about it!
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A fan's anguish.... http://rafaresurgence.blogspot.com/
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2011 on U.S. Open: Djokovic d. Nadal at Racquet Reaction
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A fan's anguish.... http://rafaresurgence.blogspot.com
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2011 on Mr. One More Ball at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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What a terrible day for Rafa fans.....one cannot win all the time but a loss like this is too hard to swallow! Novak gave Rafa a taste of his own medicine and some more. Is this the same Nole that lost to Rafa in USO and ATP finals at the end of last yr? What a dramatic turnaround.....even in IW finals that Nole won he was dominated thoroughly in the 1st set by Rafa and was simply shaking his head and commentators noted that Nole was simply acknowledging Rafa's brilliance. But now...Nole is summarily beating Rafa....just how did this come to pass?! Unbelievable consistency from baseline on both wings with 10% increase in power, stretching like a gymnast-retrieving the hell out of everything, a backhand that works like a killer forehand.....doing this rally after rally. His confidence seems to have made him immune to missing anything especially against Rafa! As a Rafa fan I might be still in denial but Nole seems to be playing extraordinary tennis without being extraordinary player. What single or couple things that are so superior to rest of the top 5....I am drawing a blank except for movement. In terms of weapons and style of play he still has to establish signature+winning style like his immediate predecessors. We can call him a genuinely great player if he wins at least 4 majors over the next 2 yrs. As for Rafa he really needs to start from a clean slate and start working like he did in 06/07 to break Wimbledon/Roger's code when 0% gave him a chance on grass. He's a problem solver par excellence and trust him to find solutions to begin beating Nole regularly now that pressure of # 1 and defending Wimby is off....for a start he should take a look at Nole vs Tomic. Sometimes a 18-yr old can teach a few things to even an accomplished great like Rafa! P.S For all Rafa & Novak talk, JMDP might simply blow through everyone at USO. Men's tennis was never this engrossing, competitive and effulgent!
Toggle Commented Jul 4, 2011 on Wimbledon: Djokovic d. Nadal at Racquet Reaction
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Novak and the oil painting of a backhand...repeat many times over and the result is easy to predict. As a Rafa fan I am really bummed out but can't help acknowledge almost unreal tennis Novak is playing. Even as recently as last US open i thought Novak no truly incredible weapons for sustained success....I had in mind his loss to Melzer at French, capitulation to Berdych and inevitable loss to Rafa at the open. He seemed too much of show pony to be honest....my perception started changing when he really plastered Berdych this yr at AO and swamped Murray. Still I wasn't convinced that he could beat Rafa....now that changed with 4 wins in a row. Cut it anyway this is unreal domination....so what's behind this complete remaking of Djoker into winning machine....few things... During the final they showed one remarkable stat...firstly Novak is hitting his groundies on an avg 11-12% faster than last yr....mind you on an average.....this is a hugeeeeeeeeee difference,secondly his court coverage has become BETTER than Rafa....on his relatively weaker FH side he gets to any shot, almost bends 90 degress from waist/parallel to the ground returns with interest, thirdly his BH which was good even earlier has become a missile...cross-court or DTH it's like a rapier fizzing, flat, deep with no answers. Fourthly his remade serve gets him short balls and he steps in and crashes a FH winner with insouciance. Fifthly his ROS has become better than Agassi...no shanks even to big serves just gets every damn thing back and begins a rally in a dominant position! So what you got....a completely NEW player called Novak the Nasty(sorry fans). What should Rafa do to have any chance....serve lights out, improve BH by a million %, more FHs to Novaks FH much deeper and flatter and being a better volleyer do more than occasional incursion to the net just disturb the rhythm. Novak is simply playing uninhibited tennis.....hitting from both flanks with power and depth, getting to any ball, simply forgetting to MISS! Great times ahead for pure tennis lovers....it will be intriguing to watch what changes that Rafa would be able to come up to counter this storm....true champion that he is....I am confident that he will be able to but just don't expect it to happen anytime soon....may be in time for Wimby!
Toggle Commented May 15, 2011 on Rome: Djokovic d. Nadal at Racquet Reaction
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Steve-I think you have provided a fairly balanced analysis so don't be annoyed by extreme comments. I saw only highlights of the match so really cannot pipe in with generalising/confusing comments. But i would say this...this might be a great victory for Novak by any definition but doesn't represent change of guard or anything epochal. In Borg's case his loss to Mac was definitely epochal since he could not have overcome Mac even he continued playing beyond 81. But Rafa has not hit the dead-end as most Nolites seem to suggest but just lost out to better player on that given day. Novak's remarkable consistency in hitting off the ground from both flanks has largely contributed....his BH/extreme angled is a huge weapon though his FH still is loopier....his serve is vastly improved and can get free points even on dead surfaces. It's just a matter of recalibration for Rafa/Toni to choose strategize point-ending approach. Long rallies wont do now....more FH to FH then only put-away shot to BH along side more volleying...easier said than done....but remember Rafa has won 9 Slams and he will turn just 25 next month and at least has 3 more (near)peak yrs. On the flipside if Novak blanks him in Roland Garros then even Rafa might yield psychological edge. Let's hold our horses until another month at least.....well played Novak.
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