[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGUIwkJ5wOs[/youtube]

One of Nadal’s most memorable match in Roland Garros.

After two straight sets victories over Robin Soderling and Kevin Kim, Rafa met french clay-court specialist Paul Henri Mathieu (PHM) in the third round of 2006 French Open.

Born and raised in Strasbourg, PHM trained for 3 years at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. Junior French Open champion in 2000, Mathieu is the typical one-dimensional baseline player: he’s able to hit heavy groundstrokes from both wings but he lacks velocity and shot variety.

He played the match of his life against Nadal, but it simply wasn’t enough to beat the defending champion. PHM lost to Rafa in a gruelling encounter which lasted 4 hours and 53 minutes, but only 4 sets and 42 games!

Nadal had established himself as the King of Clay by winning his first French Open in 2005. Two weeks before this Rome final Federer had lost to Nadal at the Monte Carlo Masters series.
At the time, the Rafa-Fed rivalry was just peaking, and some tennis analysts like Carillo thought Nadal would just be another clay court specialist like Bruguera or Kuerten (how wrong she was…)

<After 5 hours of play and two match points saved, the Spaniard emerged as the winner. He equalled Vilas record of 53 consecutive wins on clay and also improved to 5-1 against the world No 1.

Rafael Nadal

Is it me or the Swiss Maestro always looks grumpy when he plays against Nadal?

Roger Federer

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Rafa’s playing style

Rafa Nadal: “My game is to play with the rallies. I don’t want to play serve and volley or serve and one shot or ace. Everybody has to know that. My game is to play with intensity, play good rhythm all the time, and try to play long times without having mistakes.”

Forehand:

Rafael Nadal forehand

His heavy spin forehand is one of the heaviest shot in today’s tennis. It’s the central component of his game, allowing him to dictate the play from the baseline.
Nadal forehand shot rotates at an average of 3200 times a minute (2700 for Roger Federer). Being given that he plays left handed, the spins come onto the racquet different to what players practise all of the time. Lately he tried to reduce the spin in order to win more winners, especially on hard courts.

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Nadal-Federer rivalry

One of the greatest (if not the greatest) all time tennis rivalry. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal provide us some spectacular, intense and emotional tennis each time they play. Everyone remember their epic 2008 Wimbledon final of course.
What’s your favorite Nadal-Federer match?

You can click the column to sort the table:

No. Year Tournament Surface Round Winner Score R. F. R. N.
1. 2004 Masters Series Miami Hard R32 Nadal 6–3, 6–3 0 1
2. 2005 Masters Series Miami Hard Final Federer 2–6, 6–7(4), 7–6(5), 6–3, 6–1 1 1
3. 2005 French Open Clay Semi-final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–4, 6–3 1 2
4. 2006 Dubai Hard Final Nadal 2–6, 6–4, 6–4 1 3
5. 2006 Masters Series Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 6–2, 6–7(2), 6–3, 7–6(5) 1 4
6. 2006 Masters Series Rome Clay Final Nadal 6–7(0), 7–6(5), 6–4, 2–6, 7–6(5) 1 5
7. 2006 French Open Clay Final Nadal 1–6, 6–1, 6–4, 7–6(4) 1 6
8. 2006 Wimbledon Grass Final Federer 6–0, 7–6(5), 6–7(2), 6–3 2 6
9. 2006 Tennis Masters Cup Hard Semi-final Federer 6–4, 7–5 3 6
10. 2007 Masters Series Monte Carlo, Monaco Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4 3 7
11. 2007 Masters Series Hamburg Clay Final Federer 2–6, 6–2, 6–0 4 7
12. 2007 French Open Clay Final Nadal 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–4 4 8
13. 2007 Wimbledon, London, England Grass Final Federer 7–6(7), 4–6, 7–6(3), 2–6, 6–2 5 8
14. 2007 Tennis Masters Cup Hard Semi-final Federer 6–4, 6–1 6 8
15. 2008 Masters Series Monte Carlo Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 7–5 6 9
16. 2008 Masters Series Hamburg Clay Final Nadal 7–5, 6–7(3), 6–3 6 10
17. 2008 French Open Clay Final Nadal 6–1, 6–3, 6–0 6 11
18. 2008 Wimbledon Grass Final Nadal 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7 6 12
19. 2009 Australian Open Hard Final Nadal 7–5, 3–6, 7–6(3), 3–6, 6–2 6 13
20. 2009 Madrid Masters Clay Final Federer 6–4, 6–4 7 13
21. 2010 Madrid Masters Clay Final Nadal 6–4, 7–6(5) 7 14
22. 2010 London Hard Final Federer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 8 14
23. 2011 Miami Hard SF Nadal 6-3, 6-2 8 15
24. 2011 Madrid Clay SF Nadal 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 8 16
25. 2011 French Open Clay F Nadal 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1 8 17