Your Best Scenario For Rafa In 2016

Discussion in 'Pro Tennis (Mens)' started by ClayDeath, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    What is your absolute best possible scenario for Rafa in 2016? Exactly  what can he achieve in your best estimation and where?

    Take the Discuss Tennis Rafa Challenge: List the events he will win. You can also list the events where you see him do poorly.

    Post away and have fun.

     

    [​IMG]
     
  2. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    there is an immense amount of talk about Rafa in the tennis circles.

    and as you have seen, so many experts are offering their own brand of advice for Rafa.

    it is for these reasons that I think this is a timely topic.

    let us try to get a sense of where you see him in 2016.
     
  3. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    Mmm... I'll do a more detailed response later, but I do see him winning at places like Rio, Barcelona (assuming he enters), maybe another one or two clay titles.
     
  4. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    Rio is a good possibility but he has to show up prepared to do battle.

     

    I have to make my own list also.
     
  5. Twisted

    Twisted Major Winner

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    Best case is he turns into 2013 Rafa and could win RG and a couple clay tourneys.  Depending on how Nole plays Rafa could feature off clay too.  Not saying it's "likely" but it's far from impossible.  One bad year doesn't bury a great player.  Two bad years...then we talk.
     
  6. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    I have Rio and Hamburg as good possibilities. That also assumes weak field in both and he is prepared.

    he failed to get past the quarters of any slams this year. I see that trend pretty much continued in 2016.

    in fact it could get worse if he supporting a minor injury or has knee issues.

    and I have him winning exactly zero events on the hard courts in 2016. He has not won anything on the hard courts since 2013.

    You don't set the clock back to 2013 that easily. Not at near the end of his career. And certainly not when he is not willing to put in the hard yards  required on the practice courts and on the fitness front.

    he has to show something in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome. if he can take 2 out of these three then he improves his chances at RG.

    more on this later.
     
  7. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    My bottom line:

    clay is the wellspring from which he flows. More now than ever before. He has to get on clay and make an impact before he can be a factor anywhere else.
     
  8. Moxie

    Moxie Multiple Major Winner

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    ^Toni has said as much re: clay.  (I put a link on another thread.)  They are targeting taking that part of the season back.  He also said that they can't wait for the clay season.  Rafa is doing pretty well in this, his worst part of the calendar, and especially given his fairly dismal year.  He should try to go deep somewhere like Doha, which he won in 2014, and target the SFs and Fs of all Majors.  He'll all but certainly go into Oz at #5-6, but could be back at #4 sometime after, which he could have a decent shot at keeping, which makes SFs and Fs very realistic.  AO will need some help from the draw.

    Picking Rio and Hamburg is unimaginative.  (Ahem...BB and CD.  You're being victims of short-term memory.)  I'm thinking serious inroads at IW, where he has done very well, and maybe finally taking that pesky Miami that has eluded him.

    In the clay season, he doesn't have to win everything, but he has to make it clear that the Dirt Devil is back.  I'm thinking a win in MC, par example, a F in Rome, and then he retakes Roland Garros.  Why not?  If he only wins one more Major, it'll likely be next year, and on the French clay.  I'll stop there, but if much of any of that comes true, many good things could come in the rest of the year.

    CD, your thread is "Your Best Scenario for Rafa in 2016," is it not?  Well, then...I'll put him at least in the finals of the AO, and retaking the USO.   :yahoo:

     
     
  9. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    take the Discuss Tennis Rafa Challenge folks:

     

    list the events he is going to win in 2016.

     

    also list the slams at least where --you estimate-- he will do poorly. he failed to get past the quarters of any slam this year. I expect about the same.

    could go a little further at RG but that depends on what he shows at Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Rome. he needs 2 out of these 3 and he needs to get a win over Djokovic.

    again I see exactly zero hard court titles for him in 2016. it is what it is. if he is to win on other surfaces than it starts for him on the red clay. he has to produce on clay.

    if he produces on clay and goes on to capture his 10th RG then you have to start liking his chances of doing better on the north American hard court circuit.

    10th RG crown would revitalize him but it is a very long and very hard road back.

     

    is he willing to put in the time on the practice courts and on the fitness front?
     
  10. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    I have the most perfect goal for Rafa. he can go after the most sublime dream ever imagined on this planet: a 10th RG crown while denying djokovic once again.

     

    djokovic has not only beaten rafa in 8 of their last 9 matches, he has pretty much humiliated him. I would exact my revenge at RG.

    this is what Rafa needs to be thinking about night and day, 24 hours a day right now. 10th RG crown for the ultimate immortality in our sport and taking down djokovic in the process.

    one other thing to note: djokovic could capture the next 7-8 slams and run past all 3 with a single stone. he could run past Sampras, rafa, and Federer. Rafa can prevent that from happening to ensure his own high place on the immortality ladder. why would you settle for 3rd best in history.

    you go and take your kingdom back and ride into the sunset.
     
  11. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    Actually, my post was what I thought might happen, not  a best scenario.  Winning RG would be a best scenario for Rafa, but I don't think he wins it in 2016 unless he shows us (quite a lot) more improvement.

    Still, I think CD might be being overly pessimistic.  Nadal hasn't become a dud overnight. We often compare these great players to themselves rather than what's out their on tour.
     
  12. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    I just call it like I see it.

     

    no matter how you spin this, there are no results to speak of. there are no titles.

    that to me speaks pretty damn loudly. so you don't even have to believe me. just believe the results which are basically nonexistent.

    he has not won a hard court title since 2013. he has gotten killed in 8 of last 9 matches against djokovic. and I am being kind. djokovic did not just kill him but basically decimated him to pieces.

    to a point now where Rafa is running around saying that "there is no shame in losing to djokovic". he is also prepared to call him the greatest ever to play.

    at any rate I am not seeing any results. does anybody really believe that he is going to do anything in London. he might win one match at best.

    he might make the quarters at the Australian Open. that is not being overly pessimistic. that is calling it like it is happening.

    that is what he did this year. he failed to get past the quarters of any slam. I simply expect that trend to continue.

    that is not subjective. that is objective probability. objective probability is based on past events.

     

    everybody who is working hard and is focused is winning. he is the only one who is not. berdych bagged a title recently. ferru has at least 5. Federer has 5-6. djokovic takes anything he wants because he is willing to outwork them all.

    he even went to the practice courts after his match yesterday. he said he was interested in improving his game. and this is the man who does not lose anymore.

    Rafa is just a shell of what he used to be. it is nearly 4 years in the making. he did it to himself but the injuries did not help.

    he owned everybody. he took down the greatest ever to play the game. he took down Federer.

    he does not have a crises of confidence. he has a crisis of insufficient work ethic. too much inactivity as it relates to tennis and fitness.

     

    and that is costing him.

     

    more on this later.
     
  13. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    Rafa can change his stars if he wants to.

    I just don't know if he really wants to.

    red clay circuit in Europe reveals all. if it is a repeat of this year then the road back becomes even harder.

     
     
  14. Moxie

    Moxie Multiple Major Winner

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    You make a very good point that we compare the greats to themselves.  For all his "terrible" year, (and it has been terrible, by his standards, and by the ways he's lost with leads, and failed to close out sets and matches,) he is #5, just nosing ahead of Berdych again.  I agree he'll have to get a lot better to take back RG, but he's shown his best improvement of the year, in this, his worst part of the season.  There is every reason to be optimistic that by next year on clay he'll be significantly improved, with the confidence to take a few trophies there.  If that is the case, and he's back in the top 4 (for the sake of the draw,) his chances go up by a lot, imo.  I agree with CD that his performance on the dirt next year will be telling.  However, I do think Clay Death is not only too pessimistic about Rafa's chances, I think he's just wrong about how hard he's working, or how much he wants it.  He's shown in the last couple of weeks that the fighting spirit and mental toughness are there, by battling back from the brink a fair few times.  A couple more steps forward, and he won't be working so hard to get out of his own way, I feel.  Surely it's all going in the right direction for a much improved 2016.  :good:
     
  15. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    he loses in straights in quarterfinals and says he needs rest.

    right. that is how you get out of this self-engineered slump.

    djokovic will win his 6th masters tomorrow and hit he practice courts the day after that.

    djokovic goes and practices after his matches.

    rafa cant win anything often fails to go deep in any event other than basel and yet he needs rest.

    how many vacations has he been on this year again. while djokovic logs in endless hours on the practice courts and on the fitness front and also goes deep and winning everything he enters.

    again courier was not born last night and neither was Federer. they both said earlier in so many words that Rafa is just too inactive. basically absent from the tennis.

    rafa does not care to win and wont bother to put in the work to win.

    he just said the other day very specifically that it does not matter if he wins or loses. and that he is enjoying tennis.

    now he says he needs rest.

    he is going to continue to be shaky and inconsistent if he wont put in the long hard yards on the practice courts.

    this is why I said I give him rio and hamburg at best and even that might be difficult if he wont work hard.

    saying you are working and hard and actually doing it are 2 different things. there are no results to speak off. there is plenty of evidence of lost focus and very little work on the practice courts.

    if you go back to 2013 to the u.s. open, he has achieved nothing other than the RG crown in 2014 since that title at flushing meadows.

    that is 27 months without anything significant other than that lone RG crown in 2014.

    this is not rocket science. and nobody is being overly pessimistic. we are just calling the reality on the ground as it stands: there are no results other than that lone RG crown in 27 months.

    now we can add to these 27 months also. he is not going past the quarters at the Australian open. abu dhabi does not count but even there andy murray destroyed him 6-2, 6-0 this year. so how the hell am I expected to call it any other way.

    just show me some results and I can start changing my predictions.

    just be reminded that this is an all time great who is just 29 and is healthy for a change. and he did say that he was not enjoying tennis.

    I am afraid he will win nothing if he does not go make the sacrifice.

    give him rio and hamburg in 2016 and then get ready to say goodbye to a brilliant career. he will most likely leave the sport at the end of 2016.

    here is what is missing, to recapitulate this:

    drive, hunger, relentless will to win. that is why he wont bother putting in the long hard yards and making the sacrifice that is required at this level.

    he has the challenge to relish right in front of him. he just has to accept the challenge and then go do something about it.

    his challenge: stop djokovic who has humiliated him 8 out of last 9 times. stop him at RG and take the 10th RG crown and then go sail into the sunset.

    you are the sport's greatest gladiator. don't lay down in front of djokovic. don't lay down in front of anybody.

    it is just embarrassing what andy murray did to him in Madrid. rafa had no energy and no legs and no will to fight him.

    if all this plays out the same way in 2016 than I don't think he will stay in the sport past 2016.

     

    he has to show the world something on the European clay circuit that he dominated for 9 years. he has to produce the magic there.

     

    it will have to be on clay. more so now than ever before. it is clay or nothing.

    46 clay titles speak pretty damn loudly to me: clay is the wellspring from which he flows.

    it is there he has to produce his magic once again.

     

     

     
     
  16. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    I would make slam #15 happen at RG and then sail into the sunset.

    and I would do this in 2016.
     
  17. britbox

    britbox Multiple Major Winner

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    He'll likely still be second favourite going into Roland Garros even if his form doesn't improve, so #15 at Roland Garros isn't too far out of reach. I think he'll win one of the big clay masters and some smaller clay events. If he's got to go through Djokovic at RG, (as it stands right now with little or no change), he won't come out the other side.
     
  18. Billie

    Billie Nole fan
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    I can guarantee you, CD, that Nole is not going to go to the practice courts in the next couple of days after tomorrow.  I don't know if you ever saw his practices on the day of the matches, they are not really that hard.  You take one example of Nole being frustrated at being broken 4 times in a set and goes to practice his serve for 15 minutes after the match and you assume that he does it all the time.  In fact there are Nole fans who will tell you that he takes too many vacations, doesn't practice nearly as much as he could (especially when he loses a few matches) and that he is too distracted by other things besides tennis too much.    I on the other hand think that both Nole and Nadal, as well as other top players have a very high work habits and take their career and their skills very seriously.
     
  19. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    you cant take RG without solid fitness. certainly not Rafa given his demanding style of play.

    he faced nobody ranked higher than #25 in hamburg and was cramping up badly after his straight sets win over fognini. and that was after an easy and short semifinal win.

    the biggest drop you notice with Rafa is the drop in fitness and physicality. this is what simon was referring to. he said Rafa looked just horrible compared to his old self. and he must have noticed that drop as early as rome last year when he hit 60 winners against him. and that was on clay. this is simon we are talking. 120 pound weakling who gets to eat maybe once a month.

    second thing you notice is that there is little consistency. uncle tony himself has said this a few times but luckily I have my own eyes last time I checked. the dude is not sharp off the ground. again this is not rocket science. you saw this in Melbourne. he won just 10% of the rallies against berdych. and this is the game's greatest baseliner ever until he decided to let things just go.

    why do you think fognini beat him no less than 3 times this year alone? evidence is endless but like I said, I know his game too well. he is not consistent off the ground and ground is all he has. he cant serve big. he cant volley. he cant return big anymore either which puts his serve under even more pressure. which, in turn, puts his shaky and inconsistent ground game under  added pressure.

    this is why uncle tony said earlier in the year that he just checks out right in the middle of his matches.

    now he fought a little bit in Basel but that is one tournament. a sample of one. and also it was a rinky dink tournament with little or no no pressure. there was nothing to lose.

     

    at any rate he lost in straights in the quarters in Bercy--indoor climate controlled environment---and declared shortly thereafter that he needs rest.

    loss of physicality and sheer physical strength:  there is simply not sufficient power and depth in his strokes. he is almost always on defense. they can get to most all of his shots and just blast away. he has to get that back by hard work in the gym. clay will also help with that. hitting a million balls on clay makes you pretty damn strong.

     

    so of course all this will lead to a drop in confidence. I would be less confident too.

    but there is no crisis of confidence. he is not that dumb. he knows exactly what he is doing. what he is doing is not working hard enough.

    nothing will come of nothing. he has to go out and earn his fitness and his physicality. and he has to log in long hard courts on the practice courts to regain his consistency.

    there is no other way. he cant beat them any other way. he cant blast them off the courts and he cant go forward and volley. more so now than ever before because his shots are weak and land short. there is not sufficient depth and power in his strokes.

    there is a considerable drop in the speed of the serve also.

    he just has to be himself again in order to win. there is no other option available to him if he wants to win.

    he has to go get on clay and rediscover his ground game again. he has to be able to beat them on clay if he is to beat them anywhere else.

    clay is the wellspring from which he flows.

    more on this later.

     

     

     

     

     

     
     
  20. ClayDeath

    ClayDeath Major Winner

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    we have actually seen some of this before in his career. he has gone through stretches of 8-9 months without a title and then he was able to change his stars and his fortunes on clay. he was able to take that confidence and momentum to other surfaces.

    only now he is older and his clay dominance is gone. and to make matters even worse, his fitness and his physicality is significantly diminished now.

    it can be done and he can do it but it is going to take an immense amount of hard work and sacrifice.

    can he be himself again? some will say yes and some will say no.

    I can assign some probabilities based on past occurrences.
     
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