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Rafa beats Roger in the Battle of Surfaces

02.05.2007 | Off Court

“Who is going to be the king of both surfaces?” was the question that circulated when both players announced to play an exhibition match on a customized half-clay, half-grass court in


Majorca . In the end, it was the 20-year-old world number two who snatched a 5-7 6-4 6-7 (10) in an incredible tie-break thriller against our world number one.

In the run-up to the battle of surfaces, which wasn’t to be taken too seriously in terms of tennis statistics and rankings, Rafa invited Roger for a short trip around his home island. In a motor yacht they cruised around the Spanish island, together with invited guests and sponsors and did some sightseeing in


Majorca. Both of the athletes were ratherexcited about the opportunity to meet on court under such special circumstances.

"The result is not the most important thing. It's about having fun out there," Roger said. "It's going to be exciting and a good atmosphere. It doesn't always need to be crazy serious out on the match courts."

Organizers needed 19 days and $1.63 million to create the court, which divided the surfaces by halves for a unique match in which both players could receive on clay and hit a winner on grass - or vice versa.

Already the advance sale let


anticipate, that the event was going to be a big success: It took not more than three hours to sell all 7’000 tickets for to an enthusiastic crowd of tennis fans.

Roger first did some warming-up at a local tennis club and then switched to the indoor court, which is normally used as a velodrome.

The opening three games went with serve, Nadal kicking off proceedings by serving from the clay end, Roger responding in kind and Nadal holding at the grass end. Then, despite serving on grass, Roger lost his way to hand Nadal a 3-1 lead. The Spaniard consolidated the break and came close to a 5-1 lead but Roger recovered from 0-30 down to hold from the clay end.

It proved crucial as our tennis star recovered the break from the clay end before holding on grass to draw level at 4-4. Service games were traded again before Nadal held on grass and broke Roger from the opposite end to take the set. 


Our champion came out fighting in the second set, immediately breaking Nadal, who was serving on his favoured clay. That proved to be enough to eventually take the set 6-4 and level the match.

In the decider Nadal broke serve in the fourth game for a 3-1 lead, but Roger hit straight back and then held serve to level at 3-3. Neither of the players could force a decisive break and the match went into a tie-break.

Roger claimed the first mini-break to go 2-0 up, and led 4-2 at the changeover. But Nadal came back on his favoured surface to force another change of ends at 6-6. The pair could not be separated, changing ends again at 9-9, but Nadal's finally broke at 11-10 for victory.

At the end, both champions did their best to show the spectators a thrilling and tight exhibition match – which at least sounds very promising for us for future duels between the two tennis stars.

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05/26/2007 | 11:38 PM
It Would Have Been Fun To Have Seen That :D

xxx Heidi
05/15/2007 | 01:50 AM

Hadn't heard of this match - when did it take place? My brother lives in Mallorca and I would have tried to go (not easy since I am in Australia!) Hope Roger enjoyed the beautiful island as much as we always do!
05/07/2007 | 11:53 AM
hate u for that
05/07/2007 | 07:37 AM
well tthis happens . but it was an exiting thing they shoud do it mutch often
05/07/2007 | 05:03 AM
itz always been a pleasure to watch u play .. dont worry if ppl call rafa da king .. coz ur the EMPEROR, my champ !! u've been like the first ray of the sun that falls on earth .. n datz y ur my sunshine .. n my dreamguy .. u will always be my dreamguy .
05/07/2007 | 02:30 AM
Awesome!!!! A brilliant and incredibly creative idea! Congratulations to all of you that had anything to do with it! And thanks both, Roger and Rafa, for being so professional and giving us such a great spectacle! I loved seeing you smiling and having a g
05/07/2007 | 02:27 AM
Dear Roger,

you are really awesome, I hope you had lots of fun in that game, for us spectators it was really exciting and thrilling like it was a tournament! Me and my dad will always cheer for you , you've got what it takes to win the French open ;)
05/06/2007 | 02:48 PM
Dear Roger

You looked handsome in white sportswear. You were walking into court with two beautiful girls-before and behind you but Nadal without two girls. It’s not the same.

I have just known it’s necessary to have to change shoes all the time. I
05/06/2007 | 02:00 PM
To jlh,

you can watch the rome tournament through this web site WWW.EUROSPORT.COM the only thing is you have to pay for it a daily ticket or for the whole tournament it's your choice so have a look and hopefully you can watch our roger live from where
05/06/2007 | 02:13 AM
Roger, I didn't see the match but read the scores online. I have a feeling you really enjoyed the match and are not bothered with losing. I also have a feeling that you are going to come up big in the GS.
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