The title is pretty much what Shelley and I were texting to each other at the end of that match. Not playing his best, Rafa had once again managed to overcome a tough opponent, Stepanek, who was. Rafa survived 2-6, 6-4, 7-5. I can’t say much about how Rafa was playing (I always find that difficult to say when I’m photographing), but his serve was far from ideal. In his presser, he said he hadn’t served much after the Rio tournament because he was ‘feeling his back a bit’ there. He said the only time he was feeling the back was on the serve. They had done some minor adjustments in the service motion to protect the back, but that this match had given him the confidence to try and go back to his regular serve. So, we’ll see what’s gonna happen.
An excerpt from Rafa’s post-match presser can be found on TennisTV.com.
|Statistics on Serve|
|1st Serve %||65%||56%|
|1st Serve Points Won||44/53 (83%)||42/58 (72%)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||11/28 (39%)||20/44 (45%)|
|Break Points Saved||5/8 (63%)||7/10 (70%)|
|Service Games Played||15||15|
|Statistics on Return|
|1st Return Points Won||16/58 (28%)||9/53 (17%)|
|Second Return Points Won||24/44 (55%)||17/28 (61%)|
|Break Points Won||3/10 (30%)||3/8 (38%)|
|Return Games Played||15||15|
|Statistics on Points|
|Total Service Points Won||55/81 (68%)||62/102 (61%)|
|Total Return Points Won||40/102 (39%)||26/81 (32%)|
|Total Points Won||95/183 (52%)||88/183 (48%)|
I’m shoving all those last minute items into my suitcase so I can be ready when the airport shuttle picks me up in a while (and the W, space bar and control keys on my keyboard only function occasionally), so this is a quick, jumbled mess. I always plan to update when at a tournament and always fail. So, I’m apologizing in advance. ;)
Hey guys – I’ve put together a twitter list of people attending IW. (For those who don’t twitter much or…I dunno why I did it. Because I could. So…there.)
Let me know the peeps (especially Rafa fans) I’ve missed. I’m sure there are a lot. Hella lot.
Today, Rafa took part in a mural reveal ceremony (I’m not saying anything about that mural) and had a practice session. Here’s some photos.
Photos by AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
The draw for Indian Wells was done today – printable version. After a first round bye, Rafa will play the winner of a match between Stepanek and Istomin.
Seeds in his quarter: Dolgopolov, Monfils, Fognini, Murray, Andujar, Janowicz, and Ranoic.
Seeds in the rest of his half: Wawrinka, Federer, Tursunov, Nishikori, Seppi, Anderson, Youzhny and Haas. Heck, that sounds like a great tournament and we haven’t even gotten to the bottom half yet!
Seeds in the bottom half: Djokovic, Gasquet, Verdasco, Kohlschreiber, Isner, Dimitrov, Gulbis, F. Mayer, Berdych, Del Potro, Pospisil, Simon, Tsonga, Robredo, Cilic and Dodig.
That’s a lot of seeds.
So, if things go by seeding (heee!), the top-half round of 16 would be: Nadal v. Fognini, Raonic v. Murray, Wawrinka v. Youzhny, and Haas v. Federer. Seriously. That’s a good quarterfinal round. The quarters would be Rafa v. Murray and Wawrinka v. Federer. Are you kidding me?
Go check it out! But remember: it’s the rest of the field that should fear Rafa, not Rafa-fans fearing the rest of the field. ;)