Thursday, 31 May 2012

I'm At Roland Garros

Remember to follow me at the French Open

TheTennisTimes is the place to find all my report :-)

After Paris I am moving on to Halle.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Novak On The Practice Court

Short video of Novak on Chatrier today having a hit.

Novak Djokovic prepares the 2012 French Open by rolandgarros

Rafa Has A Hit At The Country Club

The Paris Country Club in Rueil Malmaision is the place to be.

Not only is there a pre French Open tournament taking place but Rafa has been there for a practice session.

Here are a few pics:

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Rafa Waxwork Video

Coutesy: RAFApedia

Novak - UNIQLO Press Photos

A press conference was held today in Paris and Novak showed off his new kit sponsor. I must admit, on first glance it does not look too bad. Certainly not as "in your face" as the ST brand.

Rafa Is A Wax Model

Rafa is moving into Madame Tussauds!

Today in Regents Park, London Rafa wax model was unveiled.  Unlike some waxworks, this one actually looks like Rafa.

Novak At Cannes

Novak quickly got out of his kit and into his tuxedo went of to Cannes.

He attended the Premiere of Killing Them Softly


Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Uniqlo Signs Novak

Well that did not take me long to find out!

Japanese clothing and sports equipment manufacturer Uniqlo will be Novak's new kit supplier.  The deal will be signed later this week in Paris.

I will admit to having never of heard of this group even though they have 200 stores around the world.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co. company and their clothes were worn by Japan's Olympic athletes in the 1988, 2002 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Novak will be joining top Japanese player, Kei Nishikori who will miss the upcoming French Open due to a stomach injury sustained in Barcelona

Novak Without A Kit

Before you all get excited I mean that Novak has split from Sergio Tacchini due to "outgrowing the brand".  Whatever that means.

A statement released today by Italian manufacturer said:
“It has been mutually and amicably decided that, as of the 2012 Roland Garros Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic will no longer be the brand ambassador"
I wonder who will take over after Roland Garros.

Rafa Rules Again

So far in the Clay battles of Team Rafole is it is 2-0 to Rafa.

I only caught part of the match due to work commitments but from what I did see Novak seemed to be playing right into Rafa's hands with his game plan. I was very surprised he did not change it up a bit and be more aggressive.

With all that said I was impressed with Rafa, especially in the forecourt. When he comes forward he more often than not hits a winner. I really wish he would do that more often instead of grinding.

Anyway, Rafa is now back at Number 2 so the final is a possibility in Paris. It will be very interesting to see which one of them draws Roger as I think that will be the testing match, I can't see Murray beating either of Team Rafole in the other possible semi final.

I will be away for 3 weeks covering Roland Garros & Halle for The Tennis Times but I will make sure I post links to my reports here.  Keep an eye on my Twitter & Facebook pages.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Rafa Takes Rome Tennis Clinic

I wonder what it must be like to have a hit with a star player. I also wonder if any of the kids continue to play the game.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Friday, 11 May 2012

Novak Follows Rafa Out Of Madrid

I couldn't see anything specifically (physically) wrong with Novak today but I can honestly say that the surface played its part.

Novak is a slider, he is Mr Elastic with his defensive skills.  If he does not have confidence with the court beneath his feet then he is not going to play his normal game.  Why risk an injury in the run-up to Roland Garros?

I am sure Rafa & Novak are both glad this tournament is over for them, Rafa is already back home in Mallorca and catching fish :-)

To Rome we go.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Nadal - No To Madrid In 2013

It is a shame Rafa never came out with this kind of strong statement before.  Oh I know he has said it is wrong to change the colour but the only way to fight a tournament is to not play.  The problem could have been sorted before the tournament even started if the players said no, if the clay is blue I won't be there.

Rafa has spoken in his presser:
“Being able to move is very important for me and if I can’t move well, I can’t hit the ball well either,” said Nadal, a two-time Madrid champion. “If things don’t change, this will be one less tournament on the calendar for me.

“This surface destabilizes the game. It is a completely different game and I don’t want to take risks.”
After finally ending his run of defeats again Rafa, Verdasco lay on his back for a while, hugged his team like he had won the trophy then started to cry as he sat in his chair.
“After losing so many times against honestly the best player on clay ever, to beat him on clay is the maximum,” said an emotional Verdasco. “I don’t have words. I am happy for the win, although it is difficult to hold myself together now. I need to calm down, rest and get ready for the next match.”

Oh My God, Disaster!

What was that!!

Has he really lost to Verdasco after serving for the match TWICE!!

Words are failing me right now.  I did not see all the match but from following the scoreboard & forums gave me the impression that Rafa was in no way aggresive.  People may not agree or even like the blue clay but you only had to watch Raonic v Federer last night to see that the court was fast and winners were there for the taking.

Why did Rafa not take advantage?  I know he is a predominately defensive player but to not use the court and attack is just plain stupid.  I do hope he takes the time between and Rome he has a tactical rethink and go for it more.

I look forward to hearing Rafa's thoughts in the press conference.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Rafa Not Keen On The Blue Clay

Rafa has joined Novak in criticing the blue clay of Madrid.

Speaking after his match today Rafa said:
'The court is not one that makes you feel comfortable'
'The court is a difficult court, it's very slippery and it makes supporting movements and getting back to defend very tough.

'But the only thing we can do now is turn the page and we are not going to get the red courts back tomorrow so we have to adapt to the blue courts and the conditions as well as possible and hope for a change next year.'
It will be very interesting to see if anything chances for next year.

Rafa Rolls Into The Next Round

It seems that Rafa has adjusted to the "blue clay" a lot more easier than Novak. 

His match today was a relatively simple straight sets win over Davydenko with the loss of only 4 games.  Next up for Rafa will be fellow Spaniard Verdasco and I think Rafa will enjoy an equally easy day on court.


Novak Not Happy

Reading the reports from Madrid and Novak's Tweets it seems he is not a happy chappie at all.

"First match on blue clay? Ouch.  Next time I better bring my skates with me.  So slippery out there."
Press conference
''To me that's not tennis. Either I come out with football shoes or I invite Chuck Norris to advise me how to play on this court. Center court is impossible to move on. I hit five balls throughout the whole match.
With everything else, I was just trying to keep the ball in the court.

''When you slide on the red clay you have a feeling you can stop and recover from that step. But here, whatever you do ... you are always slipping. Not a single player - not woman not man - I didn't hear anyone say 'I like blue clay.'
It will be interesting to hear the thoughts of Rafa after he has played his match against Davydenko later today.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

French Open & Halle Press Accreditation

Team Rafole will be going "behind the scenes" at the upcoming French Open & Gerry Weber Open in Halle.

My reports will be available at the website I work for.  I shall also be bringing audio links from press conferences, photos & video footage of matches & practice sessions as well as a new feature "Meet The Fan".

Any suggestions and questions are most welcome, either here or on

Novak Made to Fight

Wow, Novak was all over the shop today. He certainly did not look a happy chappie out there on court.

Was it the clay?

Is he still rusty from Monte Carlo?

Is he still grieving for his Grandfather?

Whatever the reasons if he is to retain this trophy he needs to blow away the cobwebs and do it quick. He looked very unsure with his footing at times, almost lackluster.

It will be interesting to hear what he has to say in the post match press conference. Let's hope for a better showing in his next match.

Ajde No1e.

I'm Rubbish

I'm sorry, I have been rubbish again recently :-(

I promise once the guys hit the blue clay (yuk) from today Team Rafole will be back in business :-)

In the meantime here is Nole taking about the tournament at his pre-tourny presser.