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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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05/04/2007 | 12:49 PM
Would someone please tell me which website I can go to in order to follow the tournament in Rome next week. I want to know who Roger will be playing and when. Thank you.
05/04/2007 | 07:44 AM
I'm sorry you lost! I still think you are a better tennis player then Rafa. I glad you got to enjoy Rafa's homeland & have fun with the exhibition match. I love your smile on the homepage but did not like the white shirt you worn in the match it looked to
05/04/2007 | 06:53 AM
hi roger!!!

its okay... i dont worry...
we are always here praying for u

keep healthy and keep us happy

God speed!!!


05/04/2007 | 06:26 AM
OK, Roger. The result is not important.So, I'm hoping it should not hurt your confidence against this guy. As your fan, I'm not happy because you lost against him again. I just hope that you won't make too many mistake when you play against this guy in fu
05/04/2007 | 02:29 AM
Dearest Roger,

Pull that talent from within you… and don’t be afraid to be who you were born to be.

YOU’RE THE GREATEST!!! BELIEVE in yourself as we BELIEVE in you!

It’s time to get back on the winning mode.

Always here for you,
Your fan for
05/04/2007 | 02:04 AM
Hello Roger!!!

Dont worry about anything....just we all had fun, it was a fantastic match.......about the loss, it does not matter....just relax but be prepared for Roland Garros, Rome, and Hamburg... I am absolutely sure that God will give you those t
05/04/2007 | 12:59 AM
Looks like you need new approach. The approach you have been using is not quite good enough to beat Nadal. You, Tony and Mirka need a serious discussion. You might need some outsiders' help to change little bit here and there on your game. The outsiders m
05/03/2007 | 10:47 PM
It must have been very strange to play on that mixed surface! I hope you really had fun and that it gave you some ideas about how to beat Nadal when you play next.

Good luck to you Roger !!!

Pam V (Tampa, FL)
05/03/2007 | 10:37 PM
hi Roger!!

what i can say? just that i really trust to you and all your fans believe in you and supporting you always, you're still the number ONE and you'll be for so much time, don't even matter you lost a few tournament, but i think is enought, plea
05/03/2007 | 10:16 PM

Sorry you didn't win, but at least you had some fun with your rival. Hope you enjoyed Rafa's hospitality!

Marcee' Sturwold
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