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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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05/05/2007 | 01:21 PM
thats okay roger
anyway ,it was just an exhibition match.It was meant for both players to enjoy and i am sure u both did
and everyone has their own weaknesses.Nobody is perfect
05/05/2007 | 11:13 AM
05/05/2007 | 09:17 AM
roger,dont worry about that match but trust me it was a superb match.i love you very very bvery very very very very much and will never leave your side.
05/05/2007 | 05:18 AM
I saw the 3rd set tie break in Youtube.. it is really amazing match..

Though Roger lost this match, (unfortunately) what has impressed me is really he is back in form.. his serve, returns and everything looks to me back in place.. OMG, what a deep back
05/05/2007 | 04:47 AM
What an excellent tennis! Congatulations!
It's been amazing how your rivalry with Rafa works in the world of tennis. Both of you have shown great pride and humility in your craft and as a person. You make us fans proud and we'll support you whatever h
05/05/2007 | 03:42 AM
we go to roger
you someday do not worry to the things estaranb to your favor, continue being best, if we occur to account each one did his in its surface, Nadal I win in clay and your in turf, so it does not pass anything, the true battle of the surfac
05/04/2007 | 08:29 PM
Speravo vincessi, ma no problem... Ti rifarai a Roma, vero?
05/04/2007 | 03:36 PM
I am just happy that you and Rafa got to go places and he showed you around. I bought the DVD of you playing Sampras at Wimblemdon in 2001 and watched ti yesterday. You were only 19 but you were even then a champion and now look what you have accomplished
05/04/2007 | 03:17 PM
Hi Roger,

I want to see you winning against Nadal on Clay. I know you are all time best and fully belive that. If whole world has to belive that you have to win against Nadal In RG. I belive you can do that.

Have Some Plans Ready for Playing agains
05/04/2007 | 01:29 PM
Go to champions that you want it
i love you
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