Andy Murray vs Kevin Anderson, Tuesday, Estimated time - 7:30pm BST - Discuss the match
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Rafael Nadal

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He was 26 last year, I'm sure of it. Then again, I always think of him as older than that in tennis terms, mainly because of his injuries.

That's right - his birthday is in June. In tennis terms he definitely does seem older than that though - he's played at such a high level for so long and with a tennis style that's very wearing on the body. Amazing what he achieved when he was so young when you look at how much teenagers struggle now to break through.
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That's right - his birthday is in June. In tennis terms he definitely does seem older than that though - he's played at such a high level for so long and with a tennis style that's very wearing on the body. Amazing what he achieved when he was so young when you look at how much teenagers struggle now to break through.

If I remember, Rafa won his first major at 19. I don't see that happening again for a while. Those at the top, Andy, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have made the game, quite rightly, so physical now, the youngsters seem to need longer to break through and deal with the demands of the tour.

I do feel for Rafa though, I really do. He comes across as being in a bit of a world of his own half the time, but I think he is one of the good guys out there. Sure, he might throw the odd wobbler, but he always comes across as being all right. The situation with his knees must be such a worry.
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If I remember, Rafa won his first major at 19. I don't see that happening again for a while. Those at the top, Andy, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal have made the game, quite rightly, so physical now, the youngsters seem to need longer to break through and deal with the demands of the tour.

I do feel for Rafa though, I really do. He comes across as being in a bit of a world of his own half the time, but I think he is one of the good guys out there. Sure, he might throw the odd wobbler, but he always comes across as being all right. The situation with his knees must be such a worry.

I want Rafa back and playing his best simply because at the moment Djokovic has a huge advantage in the semis if the pattern stays the same as the last 2 slams with regards to draws.
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Very good point gnome.
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And this is the link to the article that that pic was taken from, headlined "Watch out Andy, the King of Clay is on his way back!"-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-2270701/Rafael-Nadal-prepares-return-Mallorca-workout.html

Nadal 13 - 5 Murray
Andy won their last match.

Nadal 18 - 10 Federer
Roger hasn't beaten Rafa in a slam since 2007.

Nadal 19 - 14 Djokovic
Rafa won the last 3 matches.

I think what bothers me about that headline and numerous others over the past few months is that you would think that Andy is the only player that has struggled aginst Rafa.  I'm sure Rafa's fellow professionals will be happy to see him back fit and well but I doubt anybody will be looking forward to playing him again.
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Nadal 13 - 5 Murray
Andy won their last match.

Nadal 18 - 10 Federer
Roger hasn't beaten Rafa in a slam since 2007.

Nadal 19 - 14 Djokovic
Rafa won the last 3 matches.

I think what bothers me about that headline and numerous others over the past few months is that you would think that Andy is the only player that has struggled aginst Rafa.  I'm sure Rafa's fellow professionals will be happy to see him back fit and well but I doubt anybody will be looking forward to playing him again.

That headline is typical of the Mail. They've got no idea. It will give me pleasure to tell them.

To be honest Andy seems quite keen to have Rafa back on tour. I still think it would be interesting to see Rafa play 'the new' Andy. He's changed so much while Rafa has been out.
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That headline is typical of the Mail. They've got no idea.
  Its very rarely I would seek to defend the mouthpiece of middle England, but I think we're being a bit over sensitive here. No doubt they appreciate that Rafa's a threat to all the top guys, but the focus of their concern is the British interest. I'd be more concerned if they were openly celebrating a nemesis of Andy, but in their usual smarmy fashion they are cleverly playing it both ways.
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Nadal 13 - 5 Murray
Andy won their last match.

Nadal 18 - 10 Federer
Roger hasn't beaten Rafa in a slam since 2007.

Nadal 19 - 14 Djokovic
Rafa won the last 3 matches.

I think what bothers me about that headline and numerous others over the past few months is that you would think that Andy is the only player that has struggled aginst Rafa.  I'm sure Rafa's fellow professionals will be happy to see him back fit and well but I doubt anybody will be looking forward to playing him again.
Rafa is the true GOAT.
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Rafa is the true GOAT.

Yup, completely agree. The best tennis player I have ever seen.
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I'm so looking forward to seeing Rafa on court again, but dare I say he's not looking as lean and mean as Andy and Nole.

Not surprising, but if he's serious about going back to play with the big boys he'll have to be in the shape of his life.
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I'm so looking forward to seeing Rafa on court again, but dare I say he's not looking as lean and mean as Andy and Nole.

Not surprising, but if he's serious about going back to play with the big boys he'll have to be in the shape of his life.
I've just read an article in the Bleacher Report in which Nadal says he's basically using the S. American tournaments as a testing ground for his knee, which he says still gives him pain because the injury isn't properly healed, and accepts the fact that even if it stands up OK here the number of tournemnts he plays in will be reduced.
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When's Rafa playing?
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When's Rafa playing?
The tournament starts on the 4th (Monday) and this is the link to the ATP website - http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Tournaments/Vina-del-Mar.aspx

Btw I've also noticed new desktop backgrounds are available for download - http://www.atpworldtour.com/
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According to another forum, Rafa's first match is on Wednesday at 9pm GMT. He's also playing doubles with Juan Monaco on Tuesday.
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According to another forum, Rafa's first match is on Wednesday at 9pm GMT. He's also playing doubles with Juan Monaco on Tuesday.
That schedule is out bloody early.
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