Google Down the Line!: (UPDATED) J. Martin stuns Nadal in Miami, ruffles Rafa's feathers

Friday, April 3, 2009

(UPDATED) J. Martin stuns Nadal in Miami, ruffles Rafa's feathers

In one of the biggest upsets of the season so far, Juan Martin del Potro upended top baller Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (3) in Miami after being down 0-3 and two breaks in the deciding set. He snapped a 4-match losing streak to the Spanish steamroller and will now face Andy Murray for a spot in Sunday's final.

In his post-match presser, Rafa admitted he wasn't at his best the entire tourney but didn't feel J. Martin played at his top level either during the match:

I think he didn't play one of his best matches, no? That's what I feel. I don't know. You can ask him later maybe. But I think he played well. His level is 7 of the world, no, so he's very good. I think he didn't play an unbelievable match, but I didn't play on my best level today.

Unsuprisingly, J. Martin took an entirely different view of the match when asked about Rafa's comments:
I played unbelievable. I beat the No. 1 of the world. If you don't play unbelievable, you cannot beat him. I'm happy, but tomorrow I will play again, so I hthink in the next match.
Hmmm - did Rafa have a bite of sour grapes here? It seems the Matador was definitely unsettled by this loss to J. Martin based on his reaction to the loss. Why would he need to make comments about the Argentine's level of play especially after losing to him? A simple, "He was the better baller today - period" would suffice.

The 22-year old, though, wasn't at his best in Miami and showed clear signs, especially in this match, of mental fatigue. The World No.1 has been playing tons this year and winning so a break is in order.

In any case, a huge congrats to J. Martin who had never even won a set off Rafa. He stayed mentally tough when down two breaks in the decider and took the match by serving big, hitting out and coming in to knock off volleys (and suprisingly well, I might add.) The Argentine giant was the better baller in the clutch and, in my opinion, played an unbelievable match.

I mean, like J. Martin said, how else does one defeat Rafa?

UPDATE: Is there personal turmoil bothering the World No.1 right now too? There are rumors surfacing that all might not be well at home. Here's what he said at the end of his presser -
Q. Are you mystified or puzzled by how you played during this tournament, or do you
understand why you didn't play well and know what to do next?

RAFAEL NADAL: Always is a reason because you are not playing at your level during the tournament. No, I am calm. I am happy about myself, about everything this year, yeah. I don't know. Always is a reason, but it's personal.
TENNIS' Peter Bodo also made reference to these rumors -
There are rumblings that there's a bit of turmoil in Nadal's life at the moment, and if you read the end of his presser closely you'll get a hint it may be true. For that reason, I'll tell you that I've heard some rumors here at Key Biscayne, but nothing I can confirm or share - other than to say the issue isn't career threatening or health-related. I don't mean to be coy, but that's all I have to say about it, and I suppose that if there's any substance to the rumors, it will be confirmed - sooner rather than later.
Stay tuned.

(images via getty)


  1. If you read the entire presser, Rafa did actually blatantly say "Del Potro played better than me" several times. Everyone's just clinging to this one comment. I watched the entire thing and I agree with everything Rafa said-- he was not his normal self, and although Delpo was playing better than he had in the past against Nadal he wasn't particularly spectacular.

    He had a couple of great shots, but they weren't consistent or nearly as amazing as Rafa's USUAL shots. Had Rafa actually been playing as Rafa and not as Rafa's unhappy, disgruntled, and mentally vacant evil twin Delpo would have had NO CHANCE of winning. Hell, he nearly easily lost to the evil twin! I wouldn't call that amazing, really.

  2. courtney: Sure - but it's so unlike him to remark on his opponent's game this way which is why it's so surprising. He did give him props but then threw this in too.

    It just shows he's human, not perfect, and can get irritable too. There's nothing wrong with being a bit edgy especially after a tough loss but you gotta call it out when it happens, especially if you do it when say Fed, Nole, or any other baller does it.

    IMO, I'm happy he showed a little edginess. It just shows how much it means to him. If he was indifferent, I'd be concerned. Rafa was disappointed and expressed it. That doesn't make him less a champ, just human as I said before.

  3. There's clearly something bugging him, because this week was extremely off, and physically he's fine. It was a bit painful to see so much frustration in him.

    Whatever the personal issues are, I hope he can work through them without a thousand probing questions, and get back to his usual solid mental form. Hopefully it's nothing serious. We all hit our rough patches. Though luckily (?) most of us don't have to do it on a stage...

    Hopefully rest, some sea air, and a few days off will have him shiny and new. :)

    And Bodo is a huge tool for stirring rumors without being able to confirm anything (oh wait, this is not news...)

  4. "And Bodo is a huge tool for stirring rumors without being able to confirm anything (oh wait, this is not news...)"

    My thoughts exactly. What a drama queen. Or is it queen bee?

  5. Is Bodo one of my peeps re: queen bee?

  6. Bodo is and always will be an idiot. What credible journalist writes like he's talking to his neighbor on the front porch. "You aint hear this from me, but I heard ..." ugh!

    Rafa was off the whole tournament. He was missing routine shots he makes with his eyes closed, but the irritability was surprising to me.

    In a way, I'm not that surprised. There have been moments since his first match that he's been talking to himself and muttering, he's clearly bothered. Get some rest Rafa.

  7. Bodo's not an idiot. He actually knows certain members of nadal's team quite well, but i think he may have broken their trust by even commenting on the rumours abounding in miami. from what i've heard though, butt-picking boy is having a really hard time of it lately, and while im a federer fan, i feel kinda bad for him.

  8. I have always thought him to be an idiot.

    Until he can confirm rumors with facts, he sounds like a few of my girlfriends. Teasing gossips.

  9. Rich you're a tease.

  10. Aw my poor Raffie. I wonder what going on at home? Xisca better not be fu*k!ng around. :D lol

  11. Hahahaha. His attempt to become Roger (collar shirts) has gone overboard!

  12. I know what it is. He's upset because of my lust for Stefanki. ;)
    *dodges rotten fruit thrown by Richie*

  13. "if you read the end of his presser closely" - maybe it takes an idiot to have to read it "closely" to see the word "personal" in there, but most people of average intelligence can catch that pretty easily.

  14. Does anyone have any clue what the rumors are??? Inquiring minds are desperate to know.

    It better not involve Naturana, that's all I have to say - she's a maneating career-killer for sure!!!

  15. Reading the 'personal' answer in full, I think people might be reading too much into it. He might just mean that since there's always a reason for bad play and he can't think of any *external* ones, it must be *internal*. Except, even with his improving English skills, *internal* probably becomes *personal*. The way everyone's slicing and dicing it made it come off much worse than I think it reads. Perhaps I should listen to how he says it?

    As for 'the rumor': I don't think any journalist should drop a whisper like Bodo did on something like: "Perhaps there is turmoil in such and such camp, but there isn't enough/anything to validate it so there will be no sharing of details." It stirs the pot unnecessarily, introducing false scenarios. If someone's got anything concrete say it, if not... I don't know. I watch a lot of cable news, where they fluff stuff a lot, so I might be over-sensitive.

  16. naturAna? when she started dating nando, the guy started playing better. he went on to win the davis cup for spain and then reached the finals of brisbane. it was ana who got the bitter end of the deal when she dated nando. fine, she was in a slump, but in matches where nando was watching from her box (against zheng in beijing, then jankovic and zvonareva in the YECs), she lost (and to think that she just won linz before that). she even got a virus during the YECs. ana is a nice girl. i know there are speculations around nadal but the guy is only human, he can't be invincible forever, just look at what happened to fed.

  17. Here's my take: Rafa loves to golf.
    Didn't Fred Couples (pro-golfer)say Rafa was good enough to become a pro?
    I THINK Rafa wants to quit tennis while he is no.1 and turn progolfer.
    Of course, his family is upset. The kid has already made 22 mil $$. He wants to do what makes him happy, right? makes perfect sense to me. He'll be just as hot as a golfer as a tennis player. VAMOS RAFA!

  18. I think too much is being read into that use of 'personal' in Rafa's statement about there always being reasons for not playing well, which this Spanish speaker took as meaning 'it depends on the individual player'.

    Bodo's an ass.

  19. I read L'Equipe the other day. Uncle Toni confirmed that Rafael did have some issue, and it was not a physical problem.

    In fact, uncle toni hasn't been to Miami for this tournament the last 3 years. But this time, Rafael's two uncles and his father were all there with him, which might imply something.

  20. Anonymous said... Anonymous said...

    Seems its easy to hide and keep rumors flying...

    If there's something wrong I'm sure it will come out at some point.


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