What does Nadal’s French Open loss mean for Wimbledon?

Rafael Nadal

What does Rafael Nadal’s defeat at the French Open on Sunday mean for his Wimbledon chances?

There are, broadly, two schools of thought. One is that his defeat will inspire confidence in the rest of men’s tennis. If Nadal can be beaten on clay he can be beaten anywhere – much like how Roger Federer’s loss at Wimbledon last year revealed his vulnerability. The new French Open champion, be it Federer, Andy Murray or Robin Soderling, will also enter the Championships with confidence sky-high.

The alternative says Nadal will have his best preparation for Wimbledon ever. An extra week to rest his body, prepare for the grass court season and get angry about losing his French Open crown will make him even more dangerous.

What do you think it means?

66 Comments

  1. Gill
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Wimbledon is a different tournament on a different surface. Nadal will lick his wounds, regroup and face the next tournament with his usual consummate competitive intensity.
    The Titanic was not unsinkable, no player is unbeatable.
    My fear for Rafa has always been that he will burn out relatively early. Few players have performed with the energy, concentration and fervor of Nadal.

  2. Azra
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I think that Nadal is not the type of player who becomes vulnerable when loses, especially when he loses in his kingdom: D I think he will now have even more incentive to win, and also he will be very well physically stored 🙂

  3. Di
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I’m all for Nadal dusting off his loss and returning more hungry than ever.
    Go Rafa!

    • Anonymous
      Posted 3 June, 2009 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      I completely agree. Long Live King ROGER!

  4. Darin
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Nadal will never win Wimbledon again, he is losing confidence in his backhand and serve!

  5. Jan-Willem Havelaar
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Rafa’s loss was a shock, however it might have something to do with the fact he has learnt to play more agressively, more inside the court like he did at the Olympics and in Australia. However, on clay he is used to standing way behind the baseline and defending and it is almost like that type of play did not suit him very well this year on clay. All in all, I believe he will return very strong and could win Wimbledon again. Vamos Rafa!!

  6. Ryan Eckford
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I think Nadal can and will come back an even stronger player than ever before. Do not rule him out of contention at Wimbledon.

  7. Gajendra Bhansali
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Nadal will come back hard he lost because it was not his day. he will even be more eager to defend his title and he will win for sure

  8. Posted 1 June, 2009 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Rafa will win again at Wimbledon because he is SIMPLY THE BEST! Vamos RAFA…

  9. Philip Bowman
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I think that Nadal will still be tough to beat at wimbledon, but I don not think he will win it. I think last year was his best year and probably can not perform up to that level again.

  10. Posted 1 June, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Over the past few years, Nadal had to not only to refine the finer aspects of his game and be the fantastic athlete with sharp acumen, but also work on his temperament and mental strength to beat Federer time and again and become World#1. I believe this he has become a very mature player to let this defeat affect him negatively, on the contrary, I strongly believe his title contention at the Wimbledon has increased.

  11. sara hillier
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Federer has to win Roland Garros this year. But he’s got some tough, very hungry competitors who want the RG crown too.
    If he does go ahead and win RG, he will regain his Wimbledon title.

  12. anisa
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    I think Federer will win the French Open for the first time ever, but you never know what’s going to happen. I think Nadal’s defeat at the French Open will definitely inspire other players to play their best. However, Nadal is physically as well as mentally strong. The two put together is a deadly combination because not a lot of players possess the mental capacity to win a grand slam title. Nadal does!

  13. Posted 1 June, 2009 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    It was hard for me to absorb Nadal’s defeat but I’ve also thought that he’s really not invincible. I just hope that he can get through his loss and focus for Wimbledon.

    • Anonymous
      Posted 8 June, 2009 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      with the injuries mounting up on the young man (im a federer fan but still respect nadal) i fear his body will just give up on him if his knees are “recovering” just before wimbledon who says somweone liek soderlign wotn come and hammer him down like in france and even worse for rafa grass is faster than clay.

  14. Teresa from Indiana
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Since Nadal is out of the French early, it gives him more time to practice on grass. I hope to see Nadal and Federer in the finals of Wimbledon again this year. Go RAFA!!!

  15. Tonioli
    Posted 1 June, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    We’re in a special period of tennis. Roger has lost after 5consec Wimbledon titles and now Nadal in 4th round at RG. Both players performs some of the best tennis ever seen. But both has been riding on huge confidence level. I believe their level of confidence has been shaken some.
    I believe Nadal’s RG loss means a lot for the Wimbledon’s GS tournament. I believe it’s easier for other players to see the trophy in their hands now.

  16. Connie
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 2:32 am | Permalink

    Nadal can still win Winbledon and with a greater margin after one week’s rest to regroup himself!

  17. Piseth
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Rafa has more time to prepare for Wimbledon now.

  18. raimo
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Roger,
    all luck for the RG.
    And also for Wimbledon.
    You have a chance, fight for it!!

  19. Yasuyoshi
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    At the last game in RG, Nadal did worse than usual. He has no concentlation. Looking up the sky every time he lost the point. He did’t seem to be calm.

    All he need is relaxing.Taking some rest and good preparetion will let him play the tennis of World No.1.

    • Anonymous
      Posted 2 June, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      “The king of grass”? Really? Sampras is coming back?

  20. Shaunak
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I think he won’t win it this year……..The king of grass(guess who!!) will win it!!!

  21. Byg
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is the best fighter. He will come back…

  22. marilu
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    One cloud does not make a storm….clouds
    are necessary in order to regroup. seeing
    Nadal play in all kind of situations and
    coming stronger out of it. gives me confidence that he will be able to perform well in Wimbledon…Besides he is only 23
    young enough for a few more years of wonderfuls tournaments…Saludos Rafa!!!
    Lo mejor para ti…Muchas bendiciones..

  23. M.JAI
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    No i think this will not hurt rafa i am sure he will come back strong and defend his wimbledon title…. i want nadal to thrash soderling if he meets in the draw….. rafa rocks…… VAMOS RAFA…….

  24. Geoff
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Andy but lets have a repeat of last years final -breathtaking

  25. ls
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    nadal is a human just like the rest. Is just a loss, that´s it. He will come as usual or may be a bit stronger. He is still young and lots of energy and good concentration.

  26. tony
    Posted 2 June, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Guess Nadal will fight as usual, but as his tennis is so much phisical, nobody can say how long is going to last. If his trainers don´t change the number of tournaments he plays, I´m afraid that his career will finish sooner than we think. Anyway, go Rafa, go …as long as you can

  27. Sheri P.
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    I won’t make any predictions about the future 2009 Wimbledon champion until I see how everyone is playing. I have no doubt that Rafa will lick his wounds, and come back as the raging bull we all know and love. Perhaps this loss did him some good, to help alleviate some that pressure. Yes, if/when Federer wins Roland Garros, his confidence level will go beyond the planet formerly known as Pluto. But he will still have to contend with not only Nadal, but also Murray or Djokovic, who will also have had time to lick their wounds. That’s why I’m not making any predictions until I see them play. Either way, I wish Nadal the best of luck, and I hope he recovers physically and mentally in enough time to be the tenacious player that we know he is.

  28. Frédéric Roussel
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Does Nadal’s loss in Roland Garros mean something for his future in 2009 Wimbledon tournament? It will certain leave space for rest and mental restoration. Not only will he be in tip top shape for Wimbledon but he will also can have time to rethink his way of playing. The mental determination for this type of surface requires strong adaptability from the players and so has Rafael Nadael. He is not a super-ma, merely a man with gift. His yearlong tennis career leads him to lots of sollictations across the world and he needs to be at the perfect place on the perfect time. That is all there is to it. Whatever lots of people might think, Rafael Nadal could burn out easily and rapidly, but he is there for quite a long time still. Way to go man and keep up the good work !

  29. anton
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    I think loss in RG can happen to anyone, the king of clay defeated it just an usual thing..but look how many tournament that rafa won from beggining of this year.. Thats amazing.. Maybe he need relax from a lot of schedule tournament.. And that was lucky for him, he can prepare everything to defend his wimbledon title! Go Rafa! You’re the best tennis player all the time!

  30. anton
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    I think loss in RG can happen to anyone, the king of clay defeated it just an usual thing..but look how many tournament that rafa won from beggining of this year.. Thats amazing.. Maybe he need relax from lot of schedule tournament.. And that was lucky for him, he can prepare everything to defend his wimbledon title! Go Rafa! You’re the best tennis player all the time!

  31. lucy
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    hope king roger will win both titles!!

  32. Pooja
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Nobody’s is invincible. Hence, Rafa is no exception. Even Roger has lost couple of matches during the times when he peaked with consistency. It was jus a very very bad day for Rafa… more so cuz he not only lost, but also lost at his favorite surface, his bastion. It can have an acutely damaging impact on any other player but NOT RAFA. He will take it as another incentive to work that much harder and defend his Wimbledon title in style. Roger might go on to win RG-09. But lemme see… I wud rather see Gonzo rule!! 😀

  33. simon rance
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Rafa is adjusting game to harder surfaces: that’s why he only won Montecarlo, Rome and Barcelona this year on clay. Of course he could lose, but winning in straight sets is equally probable! I hope Federer gets his crown at RG. A diminished field doesn’t make a less valuable title.

  34. anas
    Posted 3 June, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I cant even think about a final being played between players other than rafa and roger.

  35. CB
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    It was really hard for me when Rafa lost at the French Open this year. He is going to be well rested and will have more time to prepare. He WILL come back strong, mark my words…Wimbledon belongs to RAFA. VAMOS RAFA!!!!

  36. Annie
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    Nadal is known for his concentration and he is so very consistent in his play. I feel he will be stronger and harder to beat at Wimbe 2009. This may have been the best thing for him to have this extra time to rest and regroup. He is by far the best there is and I love to watch him play so with all that said, Go Rafa! – kick butt and win your 2nd title!

  37. darine
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    rafa isn’t a small player he is now ranked number 1 he will fight to win wimbeldon he will come while he is the champion not like anay other player
    go rafa and happy birthday to you (k)

  38. Linda
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    After reading some of the comments posted here I can say that Rafael will have had time to regroup and believe in himself again. Yes, the loss at RG was a shock, but he can’t win all the time as any true tennis fan would agree. It would be cool to see Roger win in Paris, but Rafael at Wimbledon.

    Love you Rafael. Vamos to you and Uncle Toni too.

    Linda (Luton-UK)

  39. Katie
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    I think that it will make him more hungrier than eva…And no player would think they have a chance .They can only hope!! But rafa has more time now to re focus and get in shape…But no player will be taking him for granted.So for me i dont think it matters either way.!!
    Love ya Rafaa.You CAN and WILL win wimbledon.Cant wait

    Katie(rep.Ireland)

  40. siddharth
    Posted 4 June, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is not the kind of player who wears out after a loss.That’s the biggest dissimmilarity b/w him & Roger.Nadal is not as artistic as Roger but he is fighter or a gladiator i should say.He enjoys to fight.He will dominate the Tennis world for a long long time although not as much as federer did in his peak 5 years but i think he will win this yr wimbledon bcoz i don think Roger will be too motivated after as expected roland garros victory.

  41. Udine
    Posted 5 June, 2009 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    Considering the fact that a major is a ‘different animal’ and considering the fact that he has NEVER lost since his debut at Rolland Garros (where he rules) we, can only tell if defeats don’t affect him during and after Wimbledon. Well, I have the strong feeling that, he will prove vulnerable.

  42. Thomas
    Posted 5 June, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I think Rafa will get over powered again like he did at Roland Garros. I think there is more competition at Wimbledon this year more so than last. I see Murray, Tsonga, Verdasco, Federer or even Roddick going far into the tournament.

  43. Louise
    Posted 5 June, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Rafa will be back to fight for his title at Wimby refreshed and restored. Others may think they will topple him, but he will prevail.

    Vamos Rafa, Our Champion and NO 1 – Simply the best.

  44. Federico
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Nadal only won because Federer was vulnerable due to his big loss at Roland Garros.

    If Federer wins Roland Garros tomorrow, he will win Wimbledon without problems (also because of the fact that he won his last match to Nadal in clay).

  45. Briggy
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Im reading all these comments and realise that most of you guys are from England.You guys are the best tennis fans in the world.Im in the States but i really think after seeing a lot of tournaments worldwide,English fans are the most respectful.This is the first time since RAFA lost to Soderling,ive seen so many positive comments about Rafa.It is so refreshing because so many people really do not like him and I do not understand why??????????I hope y’all support him hoping he plays in England(just heard he pulled out of queens with a knee injury)We’ll do our best when he comes for the USOpen.I hope he does not let the RG loss & the Parisian fans bring him down.GO RAFA!!!

  46. Anonymous
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Rafa’s injury will affect his game at Wimbledon. It’ll just be that Roger will be better and regain his title. With a win at Roland Garros, Roger will be better than Nadal.

  47. leo
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Everyone can see now how to beat Nadal: simply be aggressive all the time and blow him away (surely it’s easier said than done): It was Sodering the latest, has been Murray, and not long ago Del Potro in Miami and for 2 years it was Blake and Youzhny in 2005 and 2006.

  48. sherey
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    ….. Nadal is always dangerous…. He has won aus open,french,wimbledon and even a olympic gold… It is his bad luck at roland garros this year…. Nadal will get ready for the challenge at wimbledon…… And he too will us open to complete all gram slams….. Beware of the spain king”RAFA”.

  49. Diana
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Rafa is still the MAN! He just needs some rest. He’s young and strong, I wouldn’t count him out just yet

  50. Mark
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Nadal will win Wimbledon – in fact it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t go out early eg round 3. I can’t see who can beat Roger.

  51. Su
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Everyone thought Rafa had to win RG, but he did not.Instead Soderling was a huge surprise. Not Murray, not Djokovic but Federer won on clay.
    No one thought Rafa could win last Wimbledon, but he did….that’s the beautiful about tennis, anyone got the chance !!!
    Vamos Rafa !!!

  52. roger_will_be_back
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    fedex can steamroll from french right into wimbledon w/ or w/o nadal, just fine-n-dandy! fedex fans will appreciate this 2009 wimbledon trophy just the same…don’t need the nadal-federer rivalry to have another winning trophy at hand, y’alll! ONLY NADAL FANS INSIST FOR ANOTHER RIVALRY IN THE MAKING FOR THE “AGES”. Fedex fans only need a singular W in the win column, that’s it!!!

  53. Ch F
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure Nadal will win Wimbledon this year but even if he doesn’t, he will come back and will improve. He has shown the world he can improve tremendously and beyond any expectation.It took Federer almost two years to recover from his losses to Nadal in the French Open, sometimes playing bad tennis, losing his patience on court, which is very unlike him;yet he’s won the french open by playing great tennis and now the bad period seems to be behind him. Nadal could do the same. It’s true his way of playing could wear him out faster that Federer’s, but he is only 23 and his body is still young.

  54. Bianca
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    No chance, he will try to recover, but that is an ended story. He won`t ever play the tennis he can, if he doesn`t take a longer break. He has to cure that injuries first, but because he is too ambitious, he won`t. H ewants to try to defend his Wimbledon title. he just doesn`t get it… And his uncle… His only comment on Roland Garros was, that the croud was against him. The croud was against Federer too, when he played against Monfils. They are just getting reasons out of nowhere. They just don`t want to accept that someone was better than Nadal for the simple reason that he just played better than him. That is so sad…

    • Ch F
      Posted 10 June, 2009 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think anyone made excuses, Nadal himself said he would have liked some more support because this tournament is special to him but added that his loss was fair because Soderling played better. It’s not a crime. Furthermore, a crowd that’s against you is different from a crowd that’s disrepectful; and I do not agree they did the same to Federer, they were supporting Monfils but never being disrespectful to Federer. I was watching the french coverage and the commentators said that the French almost didn’t mind that Federer won! What Toni Nadal says is another story, Rafa himself has always been very humble. If we start misinterpreting and analyzing every word, we should do the same for some of the things Federer said after having lost some matches. These people are champions, they are also human, they are not robots.

  55. Khaled
    Posted 9 June, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Hi… I Hope Nadal is not entering this year and that Roger will complete his 15th grand slam titles… he deserves to win last year I think it was a matter of luck for Rafa…
    After all who could tell the last hour of the match who could win..
    Best wishes for Roger

  56. Diego
    Posted 9 June, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Roland Garros victory left Roger without pressure and nothing to lose… Whatever comes it´s for free for him!
    Rafa will loose #1 soon, it´s a matter of time…

  57. Ch F
    Posted 10 June, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Being No1 or not doesn’t really mean a great deal…I think all Nadal wants is to be able to play his tennis. As for luck, if there is such a thing as luck in tennis, everyone has had his own share, both Federer and Nadal. If Nadal was lucky last year then Federer was lucky the year before that…I don’t think it is fair to say that when Federer wins it’s all about great and fantastic tennis but when Nadal wins it’s just a matter of luck. It can be, but then it’s a valid point for everyone. Let’s hope Nadal can compete at his best level soon so that we can watch some more amazing tennis between these two!

  58. TimM
    Posted 10 June, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    It is the beginning of the end for Rafa, although the “end” may take a while. Like Safin said about Federer “the others figure you out – figure out your weaknesses – after a while. And then they pound away and pound away until they crack you”
    As cool as he is, Rafa is getting “figured out.” And imagine Rafa a step slower!

  59. pacho
    Posted 16 June, 2009 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Well, Roger will be on top at the end of year. He has no more pressure. He will win Wimbledon again and Rafa won’t come into the final. Rafas time is over. not yet but soon. His psyichal game is to much for his body.
    We will see. but one is for sure.
    RF is the best for ever…

    • Ch F
      Posted 18 June, 2009 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Or Nadal’s time is over for a short time until he comes back, like Federer did. You and everybody else seem to have forgotten the lousy time Federer had before rising again. Give Nadal a break, he’s only 23..

  60. humdinger
    Posted 16 June, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    i think soderling will win wimbeldon

  61. Prof
    Posted 19 June, 2009 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    Rafa really needs to make adjustments to his game to shorten the points, attack more – like Agassi used to do. If he doesnt – then Federer will dominate again – Federer still has plenty of tennis left in him and he will be the man to beat at least for another 3-4 years. I wish both Federer and Nadal well – they are both great champions.


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